What the World Needs
Sometimes, when I am deep in the parenting weeds, I think back to these wise words, and I use them as my guide:"Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.“ - Howard Thurman
I feel these words are immeasurably important when parenting boys.
No matter who you are, if you're a real person, and by that I mean true to yourself and full of strengths and weaknesses, then finding your place in the world can be troublesome.
I feel this strange pressure as a mother of boys. When they are playing with friends (back when they used to play with friends), I am (I was) constantly reminding them to "be gentle", "be kind", "let friends go first", "share", "go easy", "don't throw too hard", "let friends talk", etc. I seldom let them just be. We push our girls to be free and never hold back. And I think little boys deserve the same graces. Sure one must still parent, but one need not make them second guess each and every move. I want them to one day look back on their childhood and think of how it made them feel free and imaginative and safe and alive. I want it to be the start of a life lived deliberately.
I want them to bring everything they have to the table.(And while they are at it they can pretend it’s Manners Monday.)
I guess that’s one small grace of this whole process. Without seeing friends I’m not nagging them about this as much. The brothers are all in it together, I figure. Plus it would be redundant. Also I’m doing double time with other things: “Pick up your laundry.“ “Walk the dog”, etc. The regular.
I hold my little boys in my heart tonight. I know they miss their friends and have their own agonies, whether big or little.
Instead of my constant reminders, when next the opportunity comes up, I’m going to encourage them to never shy from a feeling, whether it’s happiness, sadness, anger, grief, love, shame. They are all good. We need them all. They all have something to teach us. And I want them to know that all these feelings are temporary. With time and luck and courage they fade to the background of a life well lived.
So be brave boys, and find what makes you come alive.
Your mama is proud of all the steps along the way.