[callout]Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.[/callout]
My friend tried. It’s not that she didn’t want to. She was willing to please her mom. She studied and applied herself. She got involved in school. What went wrong?
It was all about the mom looking good. Right. Important. Popular. She didn’t want her daughter to succeed for her own good.
Rather than considering how her daughter was created and what she wanted to do, this mom expected her to do what she wanted. What she needed.
When my friend did something well, but it wasn’t something her mom valued, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t celebrated. Either was my friend.
When my friend didn’t do well enough on something her mom prioritized, her mom let her know how displeased she was. She took out her disappointment, anger, and embarrassment on her daughter.
On one particular fall day of my friend’s senior year, a straw broke the camel’s back. She came home from school and told her parents she didn’t make the homecoming court. That was it. Her mom’s anger and rant that she wasn’t “popular enough” caused my friend to leave home.
She was finished trying to please her mom. She was done feeling unacceptable and broken when she knew she wasn’t. She chose to protect her heart and stand up for herself in a dramatic way.
When I learned of my friend’s past, I was overcome with sadness. Not anger, just sadness that her mom didn’t realize how absolutely beautiful and special her daughter was. Sad that my friend didn’t grow up supported as she should have been. Her mom (and dad) did some things right. But, this was very wrong.
Please, please, please, if you’re a parent reading this, get to know your children. Allow them to discover their interests and strengths. Celebrate who they are and what they delight in even if it’s not a high interest of yours. Accept them when they don’t do as well as you wish they did. Help them do better, if it’s something they want to and should improve. Don’t just tell them to do better. Help them learn how. Inspire them. Don’t threaten them.
Your children aren’t given to you to meet unmet needs from your youth. Wanting your child to be popular so you are isn’t right. Needing children to earn high grades because you have a need to feel successful isn’t appropriate. Just because you didn’t make homecoming court doesn’t mean your child must. And, if she does, she has a right to be excited for herself separate from any joy you may have.
Get help and get healthy. I’m praying, as I write, that you do what’s necessary for your good and the good of your children. You’re worth it and so are they. Everyone is.
If, like my friend, you weren’t well appreciated when you were young, it’s never too late. Like her, you can choose resiliency and develop talents you wanted to. There are legitimate reasons you may struggle. You may need help. I pray, sincerely, you don’t use your past as an excuse. Move on. You’re worth it and so are those you love. Everyone is.