Life: It’s about the journey not the destination, oh what a journey! I feel like I have had a few different lives already. My childhood which was dysfunctional, my college years which were wild, my twenties which were both professional and academic, my thirties wow my thirties…I think I’ll start there.
We were living in San Francisco when I turned thirty. We really wanted to start a family and I knew I really wanted to stay at home with the children. We decided to move back east for cost of living issues. We moved to coastal South Carolina, got pregnant, and had a baby. Our wonderful daughter who is now almost 11. The day I gave birth to her I started to give birth to me. Two years later the next mile stone on this journey occurred, the birth of our loving son, now 8 years old. These two miracles have taught me more in 11 years than…hmmmm let me count…18 years in schools and colleges! I had a lot to learn about living, I had a lot to learn about parenting and being in a healthy family. It was challenging because of my “story” from childhood.Looking back the first lesson I learned was about unconditional love, which was not an easy one. It took years to come to the understanding I have today about unconditional love. Yes, from day one I loved my baby girl with love in which I thought was unconditional, yet it had conditions. The conditions I had, that today I hate to admit were that she sleeps through the night, nap, eat without trouble, not cry too much and give me 5 minutes to take a shower. I set myself up for failure. Those things I just listed are what babies do…in-case you didn’t know . Jumping to the present the things that I do accept unconditionally are things like; not sleeping, eating less than perfectly, yelling and best of all I always get a shower and love every quiet moment. Today unconditional love means acceptance, accepting my children just how they are at that very minute. How did I learn how to accept and love unconditionally even during a rage of anger, which happened pretty frequently during our first few months of unschooling. I found support from online lists and magazines. I read and learned all I could, then I tried it, I tried to remember to breathe deep. I use mantras, like “only good can come to me” and I remind myself that it’s not about me! Oh there is another thing my kids have taught me, it’s not about me. It’s not about me that they are crying, screaming at one another, throwing a rock at grandma (yes, it really happened). They are who they are. This leads me into the next subject my children have taught me all about…acceptance.
I just described accepting my children for who they are and that’s were it all started for me. Then I realized if I accept them for who they are no matter what, then what about me? I had never accepted myself for who I was until after this journey into unschooling. SO I started to do just that love myself with out conditions…it is still a work in progress, but what light it has shown my spirit. OK…so who’s next, the hubby, oh boy this one is also a work in progress. I have always had a special place in my heart for children, not true about adults. I have learned through accepting my kids for who they are that I must accept everyone…including my loving husband. Acceptance to me is always about what is, not what was or what could have been.
Surrender is another big lesson my kids taught me. When I came into this parenting thing I was quite the control freak. Being pregnant, giving birth, then the preceding days, months, years, taught me I was not in control. It didn’t matter that I had just given darling daughter a bath, she was going to poop and spit up all over herself, it didn’t seem to matter what I believed she should eat to grow big and strong, she knew what her body needed.
When my son was around two, it was obvious he was special. He is an acutely aware little boy, so that made living in this world a little more exhausting for him than you or I. I had no control over who he is, he is amazing and I had nothing to do with it. He has taught me more about myself and communicating with others.
Unconditional love, surrender and acceptance; those are the principles I have learned from my children, pretty profound stuff that I continue to work on everyday. What are some things that you have learned from your children? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts and experiences!
Tracy Liebmann is an experienced educator, Certified Family Life Coach, and Author. She believes deeply that great communication is the key to better connection with your loved ones. She mothers her two teenaged children from the heart, knowing that is where the truth lies when it comes to parenting. Her coaching clients describe her using words like; compassionate, caring, understanding, patient, insightful and intuitive. She lives in Charleston, SC with her husband of 19 years, her 2 children and many interesting pets. She enjoys being with her family, cooking, anything outdoors and being with her horses! You can learn more about her and her coaching practice at www.transformingfamily.com or you can get parenting advice with heart at www.asktracy.wordpress.com Tracy is a regular contributor to this blog, so stay tuned for more great parenting articles from her!