How much influence do we really have over our children?
Aubrey and I were at Texas Roadhouse with four other mom-daughter couples. We were talking about random topics when the subject of birth stories came up. Aubrey and I quietly listened to everyone’s stories.
I don’t even know the exact time she was born in the early hours of July 27, 2009.
Then the conversation moved on to the similarities between the moms and their “mini-me”s. Aubrey and I continued to listen and laugh at others’ stories. I have a unique perspective when it comes to who my daughter is and what forces are guiding her to who she will be.
When the topic comes up, I often think of a poem by Kahlil Gibran that I found while working on Aubrey’s adoption. Gibran was a Lebanese-American writer, poet, visual artist, and philosopher, who wrote:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
As an adoptive parent, I gave no genetic donation toward my children’s futures. Both Craig and I recognize that we really can only offer our love, care, and time as contributions toward making them successful, happy people.
Students in psychology classes debate about what most affects your destiny and life choices…it’s called “Nature versus Nurture”. Nature is who you are…biologically. Some of your behaviors and behavior are “pre-wired” and are a product of your inherited genetics. Other aspects are influenced, after conception, by your environment, experiences, and learning.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
Luka has always been pegged as a go-go-go kind of person–like his dad. He is patient, persistent, and loyal. He loves fishing, baseball, and football–like his dad.
Kadon bites his fingernails–like me. He is confident, dependable, and optimistic. He likes school and looks forward to going on to college–like me.
Aubrey loves spending time with ger grandmas–like me. She is expressive, easygoing, and creative. Nothing is more important to her than family–like me. Aubrey adores all things makeup, long decorated fingernails, and high heels–like ???– NOT me!
It always drove me crazy when, during Parent-Teacher Conferences, a parent would say that they understood why their child was struggling in math because they (the parent) was never good at math. I would just smile and talk about how they could help their first grader anyway. First-grade math is NOT rocket science. Is there a better way to set your child up for failure than to tell them that they are doomed???
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even a He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
I’ve always looked at my kids as little people…humans who have been entrusted to me for a short amount of time. During this time, my job is to love, teach, and support them each, individually, to the best of my ability.
I made a commitment to family. Same or different…happy/sad…smart/clueless doesn’t matter.
What DOES matter is that I am Mom to whoever my kids are…
and to whoever they are becoming.