Many have heard the “serenity prayer”, but the meaning becomes clearer as we age. It applies to all people, everywhere and of every denomination. Parenthood is the only exception, but it shouldn’t be. Parents see the best in their children, but do not accept them for who they are. Frequently lamenting that if only Johnny would apply himself. If only Suzie could see herself as I see her. If only they would try harder.
Whether we accept it or not they are who they are. Johnny is applying himself. Suzie sees herself as herself, and they are both working as hard as they can. The hard part is for the parents. The parents must love them and accept them as they are.
Typical scenario is that you push Suzie to [fill in the blank]. Then as soon as you stop pushing, Suzie falls back to her old ways. Then you fall back to your old ways and push Suzie again. This scene repeats itself like the myth of Sysiphus until you’re both exhausted and you are broke. I threw in the broke part because pushing frequently means spending money. Stop trying to change them, because it makes you and them crazy.
Love them as we did when they were babies when their poop stank, kept us up all night crying, and they wrote on walls with crayon. They couldn’t help it then and they can’t help it now. We get especially crazy when our friends are raving about their daughters and sons who are doctors, lawyers, biologists, and ironmen. We tell our children about the super children without meaning to compare but to encourage. When all we are doing is saying to them that they are not good enough. That they can and should be better. We are all guilty.
No matter how old they are…. Tell them you love them like you mean it and accept them as they are, and when all else fails…. Refer back to the Serenity Prayer.