My son passed this comment as we headed for his swim class – “I really don’t want to go to swimming, but I’m going to” – as if he wanted me to approve a decision that would avoid his afternoon workout. I could see he was looking for an out. No such luck today.
I thought about all the things I do each day I’d rather not do, but feel obligated as an adult and a parent. Paying bills, running all over the place, chasing down details to the swim meet this coming weekend, etc. etc. There is just so much to do. Much of which I’d rather walk away from…daily.
After he left the car for swim, I thought about the choices I make each day; choices to move forward with intention and purpose (action) or turn the other way and avoid (inaction). The choices I make as a parent, guide or mentor to my son (I know he watches me, my actions and attitudes).
My son is very head strong and definitely has his likes and dislikes. The independent character is strong with him. He’s also very opinionated. Whether it’s chores, homework or grocery shopping, he would definitely rather be somewhere else… Like most of us.
So as a father and a man, this is the opportunity for me to begin to provide guidance for my son on the importance of being action oriented. Doing what he needs to do; for himself and for others. Looking at what’s in front of him (focus), being discerning about what is important (in that moment) and taking action toward resolution (leaving nothing unfinished). This is the time to teach him how to take care of his needs first in a mature and healthy way, how to prioritize, and how to say “no” when no is necessary. Building the bridge toward manhood, one plank at a time.
This is also an excellent time for me to practice what I preach. A constant reminder for me to be full in all my actions. He’ll get that.
The next day I watched my son working away at his theater camp. He was breaking down the stage props and putting items away. I watched him work with purpose and intention. When he finished, I could feel something different about him and what he was becoming. My son is becoming his own.
The beauty of parenting is that it is a practice of duality. One part for the child and one part for ourselves. When our children succeed, we feel their success. When our children stumble, we still feel their success. The important piece is that we feel ourselves in our experience and we do what is necessary (even when we’d rather not).