This morning I was heading in to Jerusalem to meet a client and saw my neighbour looking to catch a ride with someone, so I offered her a lift. Once she got settled and we exchanged the usual greetings, I asked her, “so what’s new?”.
We joked that everyday is new, but then after searching her mind she said that, actually, she was just thinking about something-something that she thought was kinda silly but turns out to be a pretty important question that we all face as parents.
She told be the story of her kids waking up early, I mean super insanely early, so they could be the first at the school bus stop in the morning. Apparently their is some sort of competition among the kids and they are all determined to win.
It turns out that among them are another couple of kids from another family who live even closer to the bus stop, and what’s more, their mom is good friends with the bus driver.
So wouldn’t you know, every morning, before the bus reaches it’s stop, this doting mother intercepts the vehicle, says hello to her dear old friend and sends her kids on to the school bus, victorious once again.
We can all admire the mother who will go to great lengths to help her kids reach their goal (in this case to beat everyone to the bus stop), but we wonder if we’re meant to get involved and somehow advocate for our kids, get them a fair chance.
On one hand, my neighbour felt a strong pull to get into the ring and protect her kids right to equal opportunity, but on the other hand, she thought in the big scheme of things it wasn’t a big deal, it was silly really.
“I guess”, she said, “I have to ask myself what kind of mother do I want to be?”.
Which blew my mind, because indeed when it comes to teaching our kids about who they are and how the world works we have all asked ourselves “What kind of mother do I want to be?”
Sometimes the answer is so clear, but in this case it wasn’t.
So I tossed my friend another question.
I said, “well, I guess it comes down to what kind of kids do you want to raise?”.
Because the type of mother you are, what you believe in, the choices you make and the values that you promote to your kids will shape who they become.
Or in other words, you might ask, “What lessons do you want your kids to walk away with?”
Because when you offer your kid support and comfort from a place where you understand their point of view, you are helping them accept their experience and tolerate the discomfort that accompanies injustice and disappointment, which in life is one of the greatest lesson you can teach them.