The world of our children and their experience is different than ours is/was. And that’s not good nor bad. It simply is. However, the general human underpinnings, feelings and emotions, yearnings and wanting to belong — it’s there for our kids too (though it may show up differently — I’m looking at you, social media).
We all need support and guides sometimes, and our kids are no exception. However, what if we offered: “I’ve been around the sun quite a few times and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned,” rather than “I know the answer — listen to me”? Perhaps we’ll get a more receptive response. Living more does give us more opportunities to gain wisdom, absolutely, though it’s not a guarantee that we’ll “know better” somehow.
How can we involve our kids in decisions that impact them? How can they feel ownership over themselves and their lives? How can we get them involved?
How can we get out of the way — and allow them space to evolve into more and more responsibility and involvement (even when we’d rather take the reins because it’d be easier)? How can we help them build their own proverbial platform and then add/create their own content? They are going to be doing it anyway.
How can we help rather than try and stop or control their progress (which is greatness in disguise)? When we allow space rather than impede (even when it looks like they have no idea what they’re doing), the opportunity to be a guide stands a much better chance of opening up.
One of the greatest gifts we can offer is to help our kids understand that they are their own best gurus, teachers, and mentors. This doesn’t mean that they know all of the answers to everything and should never listen to anyone else, because no one does. What it means is that they have an internal GPS inside that is always available and will always lead them in the best direction for them (especially when making decisions on their own!) — if they choose to look for, listen to, and build it up. And it will never steer them wrong.
A nudge for us adults: Let’s be our own gurus, teachers, and mentors, modeling what trusting oneself looks like. The positive/useful ripple effect of modeling in the long run beats the pants off telling, every day of the week and twice on Sundays.