As my kids get older I’m beginning to experience the challenge of guiding not only their behaviour but their character. It’s like most things in parenting where I hear about it and can empathize with the challenges but once I’m in the thick of it, I REALLY get it. What do I leave for my son to figure out on his own, what do I gently guide, and what do I take a strong stance on?
It’s even more challenging when I see parts of me in his personality and character.
I feel like there is a chance for me to help guide him in ways that I never received. Hoping that I can ease some angst by helping him to cope better with some of the character traits that are more challenging.
Yesterday I was messaged by his teacher that he was complaining of a tummy ache. This ailment magically appears when he doesn’t want to do something. He pulled it out earlier in the morning hoping to not go to school (he had just eaten breakfast and was perfectly fine). To school he went. But after food, fresh air, water and time, by the early afternoon he was still “not feeling good”.
If work was busy for me I probably would have asked that he tough it out. I was working from home and there is that niggling of doubt, maybe he really isn’t feeling well. Off to school I went. Of course he was fine. He did complain of a tummy ache and sore throat but nothing crazy.
Home we came and he played and rested while I did manage a bit of work. Later in the evening his teacher again messaged me to share some thoughts from the last couple of days (we have such a caring teacher to have taken her time to reach out later in the day). My son was working on a Father’s Day gift where they are to write what is awesome about their dads.
He was struggling with this so the teacher had tried to give him some prompts to get him started and he told her that his dad is either at work, watching TV, or home after he is in bed. Some of this is true but not all of it. His dad is a shift worker and does watch too much TV but he also reads to our son at bedtime when he’s home, will take him sometimes to do fun things like mini golf and also had put together the trampoline we bought a few weeks ago. And many other things as well.
Which brings me to my son’s view of the world. He is quick to see the negative, the unfair, and to not see the good. He turned seven six weeks ago and I know that empathy and the ability to see things differently are just developing.
But this is also ME.
Knowing that my son was sad and couldn’t see the good fills me with sadness. I know for too long, much too long I didn’t realize this about my self. I feel gratitude on many things but I also am first at seeing the negative, the unfair, and the exclusion from life.
My wish is that he can develop the ability to also see clearly the good in his life. Not in a pollyanna way but in a way that is more balanced. That when asked what is good about life, about his dad, and him that he can see the good things. That even though life has things that aren’t great, that a part of living is not changing them but changing our reaction. And all in a way that he can understand and not feel like he is doing anything wrong or that there is anything wrong with him.
Such is life: learning to make better choices and that we can change how we view our worlds. It won’t happen overnight. My wish is that I can help him make small changes now so that hopefully it becomes more automatic for him. That he can spend much more of his early years seeing the good.
Realizing that it is a lesson that we will be learning together.