What you can and cannot do

Raising three humans to become self sufficient, independent and a contributing members of society is quite an adventure. There are three such individuals in my home and being their parent has been an incredible challenge, certainly not for the faint hearted. But watching them as they grow has been a beautiful journey…most of the time.

When each of them were young they didn’t fear anything, they could do anything just ask any one of them at the age of, say, three to five. They were courageous, brave and a problem solving imagination beyond my comprehension for sure!

As they gained experience and a few tumbles they became a little less courageous, a little more contemplative and they could be trusted to be alone for a few minutes. We got our workouts in when they became quiet, no one was yelling, whining or calling out for a parent to adjudicate the current situation, in the caller’s favor, of course. They usually were solving problems in ways that were as dangerous as they were creative!

Now they are young adults. Fiercely independent and ferociously unique while at the same time they started pointing out more of what they cannot do.

This is an unexpected development. The last few years seemed to have have put this new belief in their heads that there are more things they cannot do. Now, to be honest, I am a firm believer in doing what you can do and not letting what you cannot do get in the way. To see the kids focused more on the opposite is distressing and wondering if, as parents, we taught resilience to them correctly.

We tried to teach them to keep their eyes on the prize and do what they can to move toward it while navigating around obstacles and seeking help when needed. We tried to show them optimism in the face of any and all challenges, it is going to get better, and if it isn’t better yet — keep going!

In the course of a conversation about focusing on what cannot be done they all replied they were speaking about what they cannot do as their way of asking for help. We were floored about our complete misinterpretation of events! They had each adjusted their communication style to meet their needs. Talking about what they cannot do initiated a conversation about potential solutions, essentially brainstorming. Talking about how things were going was more about the emotions they were feeling in the situation, you know, venting and calibrating. Finally, talking about their solutions and success were how they celebrated and were inviting us to celebrate too!

Even as I write this, my eyebrows are still raised by how off we were as parents, watching these young people do things in a new way to get to what they can do without giving in to what they cannot do. They still have amazing imaginations and some of their solutions are way out there and way less dangerous (thankfully), but they mostly work and continue to work as time goes on. The kids don’t have a stigma to adjusting a solution as they become more skilled or more information comes to light. They are amazing. I am excited to continue this beautiful journey with them and cannot wait!

Published by survivorsherpa

I am a wife and mother to three daughters, a chemist and a breast cancer survivor. I would very much like to help others by caring and advocating for them while sharing my experiences and tips that may help to thrive during and after treatment.

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