I am a big believer that children should not have to take on their parent emotional problems. I personally was relied upon too much as a child for emotional support. The Kelly Clarkson song Because of You really resonated with me. I had a lot of adult problems and emotions dumped on me that I wasn’t equipped to handle. At this point I think of overcome those issues. But we do want to teach her children empathy, compassion and humanity. And we want them to show it. But do we want their compassion and support? Where is that line?
I was reading the ever inspiring Danielle Smith today. She recently lost a well loved friend to cancer and she is writing about the comfort her seven-year-old daughter was giving her. She talked about not expecting to receive something like that from her daughter because she thinks of her herself more like the supermom who heals her children’s hurts. As I’m reading this very sweet piece I really relate to Danielle because that line is always so fuzzy.
I commented about what a blessing and a gift this time it’s for both of them. but I wanted to expand on that beyond the size of a blog comment box. As a mom, it is my job to teach my children compassion and humanity. But it is also my job to teach them what it looks like to live this life with strength and dignity. We tell our children when someone is hurt to stop and help them up and brushed them off. We tell them when they are hurt it is okay to come sit with Mommy have her brush off their ouchies and kiss them and tell them that it all will be okay. But do we really want our children to no longer accept comfort once they are too big to fit on our laps? I think we all answer with a resounding no.
So that means we have to teach them by example. The example that even as adults is okay to cry, it is okay to be loved, it is okay to be comforted. I think that Danielle has a beautiful opportunity (that she is using). She has the opportunity to see that the compassion she so carefully taught her children to have for the world is really there. She gets to see that her daughter not only heard her words, but has seen Danielle’s actions and now actually knows how to comfort someone. Danielle’s daughter now knows it’s okay for Supermom to cry. It is okay for her to need a hug in sorrow. She knows that when she’s a mom is okay to hurt. She will know that she grows up her pain and her heart will remain to be the most beautiful part. And isn’t that the greatest lesson we really want to teach our daughters?
I think it’s wonderful that a child can have a good enough example in their lives that without our asking for their compassion they give it freely. And in that it brings us healing. That isn’t relying on a child too much, that is living life and teaching them to live life also.
And as a side note, when we feel self-conscious for letting our frail humanity show and forgetting to put on our cape that morning remember… Supermom got tangled her cape trying to hard. Moms of Steel are hard to love.
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