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Your children are scary because you love them very much, and they are actually not in your control. Therein lies a significant conflict. When we love our own children, we want everything good for them, everything right, just, lovely, praiseworthy, admirable, noble, and pure. We also know what they do not know. We know that the world is full of things that will steal and destroy what is good, and we don’t want their lives harmed.
But harm comes anyway, to all of us, and we very reasonably fear that which we cannot control. Early on, children cry over life’s disruptions of dreams, and we parents wish we could make it stop, make this broken world stop being broken, and we cannot. What we continuously do with that reality has a great deal to do with loving children.
Will we stay in our own hearts, willing to experience life on life’s terms with them? Or will we run from our own hearts by smothering/controlling/neglecting our children’s feelings to avoid the pain we cannot control. Will we find the courage to live fully in the midst of what we cannot control, or not?
Every stage of their lives is also a stage in our own, a stage to challenge our own courage. When they go to 7th grade, for instance, we go to the next need for courage. The next wonderful opportunity of growth is also the next change, risk, and danger. Look back at your own lives; if you are alive in conscience at all, you can admit the wounds and healings, the losses and wins, the running away from your heart and the rediscovery of your heart. If you are alive, you have regret; if you have conscience, you wish that some things had been different.
Your children have to go through the same life you are going through—for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part. They all have to experience a life of dreams and losses.
You may notice above the words of the historical marriage vow. As strange as it may seem, that is the resolution to our fear in our children’s lives. Will we stand and stay in heart with them in this life as long as it takes, willing to feel the hard things and enjoy the soft things until death do us part? Will we give our hearts to the process of growth to have the courage to stay in the process of life with them—come what may?
Your children do not need to believe that you have control of life. While perfect and painless would be great, they would rather have you. They want to know that you have the courage to grieve losses and celebrate gratitudes, for that is the life that they are called to live. They want to know if you have the courage they were born with to hunger to live this life—come what may. They are asking you to be bigger versions of them, who have the courage to grieve, ask questions, seek help, and celebrate living. They want to know if you will walk through fear, to give them the love that shows them the courage to live.
If you’d like to gain the courage to face life’s trials with your child, please read my book, The Voice of the Heart. Learning about your own fear will help with your own development and understanding of fear and control.