Friday, May 8, 2009

Mustering Up the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot (and Should Not) Change

originally posted at Reepicheep's Coracle

I've been thinking today about acceptance being a key aspect of good parenting. I think we all have a tendency to want our children to share our favorite personality traits with us, our like and dislikes, and our talents. It's natural; we want our children to be like us and to be people we have lots in common with. But I think we really must keep this desire in check. We do not get to create people in our own image. Instead, we have to nurture the people we get.

I am a reader, big time. I read all the time - trashy pulp novels, great classics, and everything in between. I find it incredibly hard to relax about Livy's lack of interest in books. She doesn't want to learn to read right now, and she isn't too interested in hearing me read books to her. She enjoys it sometimes, but not like I do. I have to remind myself often that Livy isn't me; she will be her own kind of person. There are good people, happy, rational people, who aren't readers the way that I am.

Another example is how she is a homebody. I love to go out places all the time. In my perfect world, I would only be home long enough to get the basic chores done, and then I would go out again. Livy, on the other hand, would rather stay home most of the day. She likes to play quietly in her room a lot, and that's okay. I have to remind myself that there are lots of happy, rational people who are introverts and enjoy their time at home very much.

I guess what I mean is this: Our children are not ours for molding. They come equipped with talents, likes, and dislikes, and it is not our business as parents to go changing those things. It is only our business to help them learn what they like and dislike and the skills to use THEIR talents to accomplish THEIR goals.

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