Yoga is for everyone!
Just a quick post about something, that has been looming large in my life, raising teenagers. Boy, is it hard. I am an average parent. I am not fantastic, nor am I terrible, I am smack in the middle of my social, economic, and age cohort. I am okay with being average. Not just in that department, but in general - one can't be a genius in everything. Some things we are naturally more talented in, have deficiencies in others, and they balance each other out. It is curious to me how my children grow up in the world where ordinary and average are often equated with subpar and failure. When has it happened, that it is no longer enough to be just ok?
As they seek their place in this world, I see in them the drive to be the best they can be, and I try to celebrate their achievements, but I am also careful not to attach too much importance to perfection, to treat mistakes and failures as opportunities for learning from them. However, they seem to pick up from the air around them this vibe - that only perfect will do, otherwise it is all crap. One must have perfect skin, hair, body, produce perfect art, get straight As, sing and dance like professionals on Broadway, have many friends, Youtube and Instagram subscribers in the thousands, because if even one of those requirements is not fulfilled, that somehow cancels out the rest of the individual.
As a parent I realize that my power is limited the older they get. Our children are not empty vessels that we get to fill with pre-screened, pre-mother-approved ideas and beliefs. They have their own free will and they reach for things that I myself never would, and there is nothing I can do to stop them. I can be a good example, but I am also a flawed human, I have my own skeletons in the closet to sort out. Sometimes I am gripped by a crisis of faith - what if I can't protect them, save them, steer them? Because I can't. Not every time. Not even half the time these days. The information age that we live in today is a blessing and a curse - at their fingertips they have access to ideas and concepts so varied, so diverse, so seductive and so copious, that my small voice is drowned out.
At this point I am getting ready to let go. Let go of them and let them live their lives as young adults that they are fast becoming, let go of control and let them face the consequences of their choices. I can't be a shield for them forever, even though I will always be the lifeline they can reach for should they choose. More and more I start to see myself not as a creator, but a creation, not a teacher, but an eternal student, but if I stay within my limits (and knowing what those are is a big problem at times), I hope I find the strength to live the life that is given to me.
Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Well said! Raising kids is the toughest job ever...with little or no schooling. You’ve chosen an excellent path and your children will thank you for it. I do wish we could all learn the value of failing. It’s our most potent learning tool. Thank you for the thoughtful blog. Happy Easter.