Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More letting go

One of the toughest things to do is to do our best, and then let go of the outcome. We want so much to control the situation. This starts when our kids are very young, and continues as they grow. We want our kids to eat breakfast without fighting us. We want them to stop fighting each other and play cooperatively. We want them to pay attention in school and do their homework. We want them to make healthy, safe choices instead of rebelling and testing everything. There are many things we want for them. And yet all we can do is our best and hold onto our love and hope for them.

I have sometimes had pangs of regret about my own kids when someone has told me with excitement about the wonderful, dramatic things their children were doing today as adults. When my sons were little, I had hopes about the ways they might make a difference in the world. And of course, they are wonderful young men in their own ways. We can't all be superstars. And in fact, most of us must be very content to do what we can in whatever ways we can.

Letting go of our expectations and our ideas about the ways things "should" be is hard. But expectations take us away from the present, from right now and the way things are. Our children are wonderful beings. They need love and care right now, wherever they are in their development and life choices. And just about as soon as they start stepping out in the world, and are influenced by other people, their choices are further and further out of our control anyway. They become their own persons.... and thank goodness, because their world, the one they will have to live in will be one we can't even imagine and we can't fully prepare them for.

The only person we really have the power to change is our self. We can work on our attitude. We can learn more and understand others better. So just for today, practice loving others and then letting go of those potentially crippling expectations.