Friday, March 11, 2011

Love without Possesion

  In Maya Angelou’s Letter to My daughter, I was struck by her revelation that she could love her son without possessing him. I had to really examine what it means to love someone, especially as a mother, without possessing them. I realized that as a mother of four, I love my children. I would die for them at a moment’s notice- lay down my life for them to live and prosper, but in spite of all that, I don’t own them. I don’t own them. Although I raise them and instruct them on life, I now know that they will be their own person and will own their own choices someday- sooner than later.

  Knowing this gives my job title, MOTHER, a much different perspective. I know that I have to prepare them for life, real life, not just the sugar coated sweet stuff that we fanaticize about when the pregnancy test shows a plus sign. I must determine myself, along with my husband, to raise them with the full intention of letting them grow and then watching them go. I am obligated to encourage them to tackle unforeseen and new endeavors. I have to prepare them by placing real expectations and consequences in place to teach them the realities of inevitable failure in life, because no one wins all the time. I have to allow them to feel disappointment and not shield them because I can’t endure watching their hurt.

  Being a mother has some allowances which can be an emotional advantage. We can and should nurture their sense of adventure and natural wonder of curiosity whenever possible. We owe them warm smiles when they enter a room. We, as mothers, allow them to talk and be expressive. See fathers have a different set of allowances that make them fathers and us mothers. Mothers have to be careful and allow fathers to do their job without running interference.

  When you posses something you own it and it does not own itself nor can it be owned by another. When you own something, you can manipulate it and make it move the way you can position a vase or a table to accessorize a room. Children, for all intensive purposes are not accessories of our lives. We can’t have them “sit” and “stand” mindlessly as children and expect them to be critically thinking adults. We can’t bark out directives and expect them to follow 100% percent of the time without question then push them in to a classroom or a boardroom, expecting them to know how to be participative. I believe in discipline and structure but I believe with balance. Children need to have conversations about expectations, rules, and consequences. I believe in re-evaluating the traditions and status quo to ensure determine what is working and not working for my family. I believe in pushing through and making difficult decisions where my children are concerned. Because I don’t feel ownership over them, I can be more objective, less emotional, not afraid of losing them ( or ownership of their choices).

  Relinquishing this possessive mindset helps me prepare my sons and daughters to challenge the status quo, the courage to question traditions, the satisfaction of self validation, to love with vulnerability and the freedom to own their own lives and choices.

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