First week of school is over.
I think things went well.
There were a few glitches along the way which had the little mouse in my brain running hard on his little wheel…thinking….
One of my kids did not get the teacher that I really hoped for, and think he would have benefitted from getting.
The teacher asked me if I had said anything to the Principal about it (ie. complained or made a fuss).
Another child is in a class that he was supposed to be in with his best best bud, but they changed it at the last minute. He was heartbroken…double whammy because he doesn’t really have a good friend in his class now.
The Mom of his best bud asked me if I was going to say anything….
Of course, my Mother Bear instinct is to jump up and down and create a fuss and try to change things. I am the expert on my child. I know what is best. I need to be advocating for my children and protecting them. I need to ensure they get what I think they need.
Or do I?
Yes, in many regards, I am the expert on my child and I do need to advocate for them and stand up for them to make sure they get what is fair and what they need.
But do I always know best?
Have I not experienced such heartache in my own life only to find out later that what I had really hoped would happen would not have been good for me? That had things gone my way, I would have been less happy? Perhaps that Someone knows better than me?
I loved the book “I Shall Not Hate” by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. Amazingly inspirational man. He tells the story of when he was young and he gets separated from the rest of his siblings and friends and is forced to go to another school much further away. He says:
“What I could not have known was that a teacher at the new school would become one of the most important mentors of my life. He treated me like a son. I learned from the experience that you shouldn’t hate something you don’t know, because it may turn out to be the bearer of your greatest fortune”.
At the time I read this, it really struck a chord – and still does now. How much do you really want to tamper with fate, destiny, the plan for you – or whatever you want to call it?
Do I really want to tamper with my child’s plan either? Will me “knowing best” ultimately change the experience they are meant to have? How do you know when to meddle and when to leave things up to “what’s meant to be”.
I think of the analogy a motivational speaker, Troy Dunn, uses about “Life Being a Football Game” (my kids love this talk). As parents, we are the Senior Players, showing the “Rookies” (our children) the ropes. We play a significant role and influence them, teach them, guide them and support them. But we can’t force them, make everything perfect for them, help them avoid some of the other players or pitfalls and hazards of the game. They need to play the game themselves and deal with whatever play they are dealt with.
So, as I struggle with where to draw the line between advocating for my child and letting things happen, I try to remember that there are multiple pathways that are “right” for each of us. And even when the pathway may not be the “right” one, it may be just what my child needed.
I have to have faith that the “Coach” in this football game of life knows a bit more about the game and all the players than I do. He is calling the shots, and I just need to be listening so I can help my Rookie players develop the skills and play the plays that the Coach is calling. Sometimes the Coach may call me to action and defense, and sometimes the Coach may tell me to wait by the sidelines (with ice and some kleenex – and a big supportive hug). Either way, I need to be listening and I need to be prepared.
So, this week, I sat back and am watching from the sidelines…hoping that the little misfortunes may end up being one of their greatest fortunes….