This morning my daughter called me from New York City all excited about the progress she has been making with settling in. It’s no small feat for a 19 year old to organize her schooling, find an apartment and learn her way around the city. I’m really proud of her and, to be honest, amazed that she can handle it all so gracefully and with a smile. Yes, I offered to go with her but she felt I’d be in the way, so I backed off; hard for any mother to do but especially for this mother. Raising 10 children has changed my personality into one I like to call “the general”. Am I a control freak? Possibly. Do I always succeed? Definitely NO!

I don’t like to admit it, but I’m not the most adventurous type. I don’t like roller coasters, I don’t like fast cars and I don’t like New York City. So to put it in her words (kindly said), “my coming to help is akin to babysitting”. I could have gotten really insulted by her remark but before I reacted, I thought for a moment and realized, “yes, she’s right. I don’t know my way around and she’d have one more thing to worry about.” So I let go. That being said, my “mother” instincts are stronger than my fears, so if she needs me, I will come.

How many times have we talked and talked and not been heard? As mothers we tend to see the world differently. “If only they would listen, they’d avoid a lot of pain and be happy.” We want to make everyone feel better, especially those we love. There are days that I wish my kids were still little and their troubles could be taken care of by a band aid, a kiss and a candy. “All better now.”

As our children grow we need to learn to let go. We need to talk less and do less. In this way, we will be heard more. We need to trust that we raised them to be independent responsible adults. We need to trust ourselves enough to know that they, our children, will be okay — they will survive. And most importantly, we need to give ourselves permission to let go. When our children know we are there for them, on the sidelines, ready to give a hand when needed, whether it is a band aid, a kiss, a candy, a word or just an ear, it gives them the courage to go out into the world and begin their lives. Less talk, less doing for — less noise — is more powerful a teacher than anything said.

8 thoughts on “Courage

  1. Oh BatSheva, you gave me chills…

    When my kids were little, I was told over and over that “unless I put them down, they would never learn to be independent.”

    Well, I kept on holding them on my hip until they ASKED to walk. And when they started, they never stopped, feeling safe in the world.

    And now, they fly – literally. One just flew to South America, the other one just jumped out of an airplane for his 16th birthday and the littlest one is working on his logbook and FLYING the airplane.

    As Bryce Courtenay’s character, Peekay, says “by giving me independence of thought, they had given me the most important thing and adult can give to a child – and they had given me that, also.”

    You go momma!

  2. Batsheva, this blog post couldn’t be more true. My mother and I struggle with this concept all the time. I also wanted to commend you for this really nice site and some profound advice.

    • Thanks Avi. I’m sure your mother is especially proud of you. You have always been a great guy and it’s wonderful to see what an amazing young man you’ve become.

  3. Pingback: Parenting a Teenager: 101 | Deep Roots Coaching

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