“My parents didn’t obsess about me so I didn’t obsess about me” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic author
When I read that simple statement, it really unlocked a hidden truth inside me.
I was obsessing about my kids.
I was obsessing about their well-being, whether they would be able to succeed in second grade math, little league, life in general.
I was obsessing about making sure they got to school on time, that they had fiends to play with, that they did things right.
What does that even mean?
It meant I was obsessing that they did things my way.
And if they didn’t, or couldn’t, I would get anxious.
Well guess what?
That led to my kids being anxious and on edge.
Parents and kids can be like E.T. and Elliot – with emotions flowing from one to the other.
Kids pick up on our stress and our anxieties and make them their own.
I needed to stop obsessing.
I needed to find a way to be supportive of my kids, but give them space to make mistakes and experience natural consequences.
Those are the best lessons.
But it takes restraint on our part.
Restraint not to obsess.
Instead I offer that we adjust that focus and apply it to ourselves and our desires, our passions, our goals.
Our kids will feel freedom to navigate their world with a bit more independence, responsibility and pride.
We will find ourselves again.