Monday, April 23, 2012

The wonder of you.

I'll guess I'll never know the reason why,
You love me like you do.
That's the wonder,
The wonder of you.

I heard this song the other day and it has been stuck in my head ever since.  I thought about the lyrics, how someone could love someone through it all, never questioning or criticizing, just loving.

I know it is meant as a love song. But that is not what I thought about as I listened. I instead thought about my daughter and wished that she could simply love herself that much.  That she could see the wonder of herself.

We all try to be good parents. We do. Some fall well short of the mark perhaps because of their own upbringing or a case of personality disorder, bordering on mental illness.  They may mean no harm, but do plenty. And some are just downright mean and nasty and abusive.  I feel awful for those kids.

But most of us do our best and love our kids. We may make mistakes. We may push too hard.  Perhaps we don't push hard enough. But our kids seem to thrive and smile and have some fun, so we think all is well.

Until they grow up.  Then we see things that bother us. Perhaps they are depressed or anxious.  Or have gone against everything we taught them and turned away from values that we cherish.  They may have strayed too far into drugs or alcohol. They may have fallen in love with someone who we just simply don't get. They may turn away completely. They may even harm themselves.

All of these things happen. I hear it from parents who have adult children more than I wish  I did. And I must tell you, it frightens me.

We recently relocated to Utah from Massachusetts. Our only child, a seventh grader, is not thrilled with the move. Like, being a girl in middle school wasn't torture enough. We had to go and plunk her into a new middle school and a new home and far, far away from everything she has known all her life.  I know, many people have moved as kids. And they survived.  Some may even think  it was something that made them a much stronger individual.  And I am sure that that is true in many cases. But I still worry.

We all know what we want for our kids. We want them to be happy.  But what does happy really mean? For me, it means this song. Understanding the wonder of yourself and really loving yourself, warts and all. And I think that most of us have a really hard time doing that and instilling that in our kids. But that is the best gift we can give them. To try to make them see that.  The wonder of themselves.

How to do that is the question. And can we even do that? We can certainly love and show our love. Studies have shown that having just one strong connection in a young life makes a person feel good about themselves. But I have seen many parents who have seemingly given it all and still, issues exist and it is terrifying for the parent to realize that something is wrong.  That their child just simply does not love who they are, who they have become.

Learning to love ourselves is really the best thing that we can do. How many times do you look into the mirror and see only the flaws?  How many times can a simple ridiculous comment from a person who doesn't even know us, throw us off kilter and make us question our worth? And why do we do this?  Why do we let this happen? And how can we stop it and appreciate the wonder of our own selves?

If only I knew.

I do know this; that we need to be more aware of what we say and do around our kids. Especially tweens and teens who are now teetering on the edge of adulthood.  They need to understand certainly that we love them.  But more importantly, we need to help them understand that they must love themselves.  And we should never, ever undermine that. That is the protection they really need.  Self love. It is just as important as placing them in a car seat or having them wear a helmet while riding a bike.

I think we worry too much about what our kids eat, what their grades are,what they look like and making sure they obey the rules we set.  We need to seek beyond that and build up their self worth, their self love.

They truly are a wonder. They just need to know.

We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies.
~Roderick Thorp, Rainbow Drive

If I am not for myself, who will be?
 ~Pirke Avoth

Always act like you're wearing an invisible crown.
~Author Unknown

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