Being Different From Our Children…

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. Audre Lorde

Meditation: My teenage daughter said today: “Mom, I am different from you! I need pressure to work at my best. I am not like you working days in advance. I just need that time pressure. And I always get my work done.” She is usually right. My challenge as mother is to stop “nagging” (as she says) and wanting things to go my way. I recognize if she does things my way, it soothes MY anxiety. To recognize that my daughter handles things and copes differently than me is the first step. (And she definitely makes sure I do not miss it!) My second challenge as parent is then accepting her as functioning differently from me, which is an emotional and spiritual task. When I spiritually celebrate both of us, her capacity to function well under pressure, and my capacity to plan ahead, our differences feel uniting rather than dividing. My emotional task is then to respect her need for space and freedom as a teenager who is developing her own style of dealing with life. Spiritually and emotionally I am asked as parent to see her as her very own person. She is not in my life to boost my self-esteem nor to take care of my anxiety. My self-esteem and my anxiety are mine alone to deal with.

Prayer: God, help me to accept and celebrate my daughter who is different from me. When I look for certain “ideal” behaviors, help me to remain humble and see that those ideals are more my style than general “ideals” or “truths”. Teach me to be like You and to look at my daughter from the inside. Let me recognize and learn how she functions differently from me. Help me to celebrate her in her difference. Help me to hold my anxiety and not unload it on her when she approaches life differently than I do. Amen

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1. Samuel 16:7b