A huge part of my parenting journey has been realizing that my children are their own people, very much separate from me. I recently discovered Teresa Graham Brett and Parenting for Social Change, and she even tries not to use "my" when referring to her children. As much as possible she calls them by name or refers to them as the children in her life, etc. It probably sounds strange to many or extreme but I understand and respect why she is doing it. It is a powerful reminder that the children that we are lucky enough to parent are *not us*. They will not make the same choices as us, or have the same beliefs as us, or see the world the same way as we do all the time. And that is ok, actually even better than ok, that is a wonderful truth that contributes the beautiful diversity of our world.
The word "proud" has also been on my radar lately for similar reasons. When we say we are proud of someone, including our kids, it is making their accomplishments or characteristics about us and how we are feeling rather than them. They *made* us "proud" by something they did or said.
I'm not sure I'm explaining this well and am having a hard time putting it into words. Telling our kids that we are proud of them is similar to a reward, taking away from the intrinsic value and motivation they have that naturally comes from doing things that feel right and good. It takes the ownership and focus off of them and shifts it towards us, even if in a slight and seemingly insignificant way.
Now, to be clear I'm not saying that I never feel that feeling that wells up inside of us when we see our children do something loving for someone else, or when they master a new skill, or any other awesome act we witness in the children in our lives - not at all! And of course we want to let them know that we are feeling a very powerful, positive emotion when we see these things happen. We want to connect and to let them know that we *see* them. But I do believe that it is good to examine our own motives and the words we use to describe our feelings so our children can own their experiences.
So with that in mind I have thought of at least three new ways to tell Marisol (and Gerry) how I feel when I see them growing into such beautiful people... I feel impressed, inspired, and most of all In love.
Can you think of other ways to describe that feeling we normally think of as "proud"?
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.