On the Changing Seasons of Parenting

As my own life has undergone its own change of seasons just this year alone, I watched as some of the last (hopefully) remnants of my own adolescence began to fade as I moved to even greater maturity. During this time I watch my own children grow, mature, and move quickly towards adulthood. Time truly does fly whether you are having fun or not! Yet, in the midst of change there are many things that remain the same; but is this because of the process of life or is this because of us? Do we hang on to our old ways and habits unconsciously, thus stunting our growth and maturity, preventing our own transformation? And if this is so, how must we also unwittingly impede the growth and process of our children?

Can we honestly expect our children to grow while we remain the same? Or perhaps we don't really want them to grow so we create unreasonable expectations, stress, and anxiety, all of which are natural impediments to growth. However, they still grow don't they? Some of our children only grow older and bigger. They don't seem to grow wiser or more mature. How much of this is our own doing or undoing? We all hold responsibility for what we bring to the table. Though unpleasant to look at and face, we set the course of our lives. If we are seeing the same patterns or behaviors show up time and again, nine times out of ten it is because we have not faced the reality of our role. It may be that our patterns of behavior have not changed. We have not owned responsibility.

Owning responsibility does not mean you must fix things. It means rather that you must own your behavior, energy, and thoughts in the midst of the interaction. "For all things there is a season" conveys to us that rather than seeking to control an outcome, we will be better served by staying present and responsible for our actions, thoughts, and energy during a season, thus being contented with the momentary outcome regardless of whether it is pleasant or not. We must live our lives. We must raise our children to live theirs. We must be models of responsibility, wisdom, and love, not the enforcers of it. We all have a path to walk and we are all influenced by those before us. When we spend time trying to control the steps of someone else's journey, by the time we turn to see what is in our own way, we have tumbled over. Now we are bruised, frustrated, and resentful, but all of this we direct to the person behind us rather than the owner of the feet and eyes that were not looking forward.

Look forward. Stop occasionally to turn around and check on those behind you that may be following in your footsteps. But do not fear if they do not match your stride step for step, or even if they may stray, for indeed they may be pursuing their own path. This path may not look anything remotely like the one we have traveled and plan to continue traveling but it is theirs and in reality, this is the only thing that matters.

Choose Love.

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