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As Easy as One, Two, Three

What if our vision was not to try and raise them, but instead, to try and help them rise?

Over the years, our children face challenging situations, amazing opportunities, radical changes in direction.  And while the answers may not be immediately apparent, there is a process of resolution that works; three questions; one of them, one of us, one of the universe. As adults, we tend to want to fix everything for our children, save them from sadness, from suffering, to make it all right.  We want to provide guidance, share our thoughts, give them the answer.  Mostly out of love; we feel we know better, know more, are older, are wiser, have more life experience.  What if instead of telling, we  found ourselves asking, questions that would simplify things, lead us in a direction where we could truly be of help, moving us out of our own way so that they might show us THEIR way.  

What do you need?  Sounds simple and in most cases, so is the answer, they often have a real sense of what they need and what the right answer might be; food, rest, comfort, laughter, privacy, some time away, to find love, to make money, add space, be with a friend, spend time alone, leave school, heal a heart, move out, change direction, share a burden, end a relationship, create something new, quit a job.  Rather than hear them, explore it or trust it, we question it, judge it, offer up a different answer, our solution; what we think is a better fit, is the right fit.  The more children you have, mentor, know or love, the more varied the situations and the solutions.  Doesn’t it make more sense to ask them rather than tell them, to seek first to understand, then to be understood?  We walk beside them but need to recognize that they are on a very personal and independent journey and that only when we ask and listen, do we have an opportunity to all move forward and in the same direction.

What am I afraid of?  That they are making a mistake, that they don’t know what they really need, or that things will get worse, end badly.  We fear their choice will move them in the wrong direction, won’t meet our expectations, won’t fulfill their potential, won’t satisfy our needs. Our fears cloud our vision, affect our ability to respond with clarity and without judgement; blur what is truly best for them, shaping answers that sometimes represent less about our children and more about us.

What would love do here?  Always provides the true answer, one that can never come from a place of lack, of scarcity, of fear, of longing, of judgement.  Love drowns out our ‘shoulds’, clears the lens, and brings into focus, the larger picture; takes us out of ourselves, further from our head, and closer to our heart, leans into where our best lays waiting.  Love softens our edges and paves the way for a path of grace.

So, the next time someone reaches out to you, in search of support, to ask for advice, to seek a solution, consider asking them what they need, asking yourself what you fear, and asking the universe what love would do.