My sweet son, Zane, is almost 7. He went to first grade in the fall. It seemed to be going ok. He’s really really good and sweet. Everyone told me how good he was. He got good grades. All is well, right?
When he came home, he never wanted to help me out or clean up after himself. Sometimes, seemingly randomly, he would have emotional breakdowns. He seemed somehow fragile. But our family had gone through a lot of change. I accepted it. What could be done, right?
One day, Zane wanted to hang out in the yard after I picked him up from the bus. I wanted him to come in the house.
He stated, quite vociferously, “I NEVER get to do what I want to do! ALL DAY I do what everyone ELSE wants me to do!”
My initial reaction was the conditioned one… welcome to life, kid. Or, maybe worse… just quit whining and do what you’re told. Again, that’s life, right?
I decided, instead, to really hear him. Because it’s the frustration we all have. Because we are conditioned to allow that. We are conditioned from the very start to please everyone ELSE. Zane’s complaint was all of ours. And it really doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not The Truth of Life. It only seems true if we comply. I had to rethink this. I knew it.
In December, Zane caught a bad cold. He missed a week of school. It happened to be the week before holiday break. So, he was home for 3 weeks. He blossomed. I never sent him back. (I make it sound easy, but trust me, it was a process. A very universally guided process.)
We can allow our kids to please themselves. We can teach ourselves to please ourselves. This does not create a world of selfish, greedy people. This creates a world of fulfilled people who love to give because they love to give. Not because they should or have to. This creates full hearts, joyous lives, creativity, and true generosity.
Unexpectedly, in setting him free, I also set myself free.