I was watching my kids play today, well actually they were being kind of naughty if I’m being honest. Funny naughty, not serious or dangerous naughty though and it struck me that they are really different from me. Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many similarities. They look like mini me’s, they love to laugh and are curious the way I was. They like some of the things I like etc. But overall they are different little individuals, with their own drum beats.
It may sound really obvious, of course they are! And it is wonderful! However, before they were even a thought in my mind I always worried if I had kids that they may suffer through some of the same issues I’ve struggled with, they may face similar challenges and I may pass on some of my issues, because I couldn’t do a good enough job hiding them or overcoming them myself. And that they may have the same not so great reactions I had to those problems, because I most definitely made some mistakes and learnt some things the hard way.
My fears for them have largely been reflective of things that I have feared or struggled with in my own life.
As I was sitting there and watching them today I realised the world has changed so much from when I was a kid (which doesn’t feel all that long ago). They are different from me and are living in a different world. Whilst they may face some of the challenges I faced they are also highly likely to face completely different ones that I have never come across, seen or thought of. And they may react differently then I would in those situations.
All the worry and angst over ‘what if’s’ has been kind of useless. I have no doubts they will face real issues that will really worry me, but they will probably not be in the shape, size, form or way that I am imagining. They are not simply going to re-live my life and come across the same issues and deal with them in the same way. Maybe I can protect them from some of the issues I directly dealt with, but then there will be others. And is it better to focus on harnessing them with the skills, confidence and independence to get through their own struggles? Rather than trying to “protect”, because “protect” to me sounds a lot like control, which in reality is a dangerous illusion.
Telling myself not to worry about them is probably useless advice, as I know I will always worry about them. Because they are so important to me. And I’m a worrier. However, after my little revelation today I really think my worries are probably misplaced! And ridiculous at times! They are already such wonderful little people I have no doubts they will learn, grow and develop into wonderful little ladies who are equipped to take on this world. It will most definitely be interesting to watch.
Do your kids or family ever surprise you? Are you a worrier? Or better at just enjoying the moment than me? Or have you shocked your family or friends with your reactions?