Over my past 23 years of parenting, I have had many occasions to dig deep inside of myself to find a source of strength to sustain me. Unfortunately, there have been more nights spent in a hospital with one child or another than I care to remember. My husband and I have each gone through the loss of a parent and together, we have suffered the loss of a child. Like any married person, our marriage has suffered through its ups and downs. SURPRISE! We do have disagreements (you’re probably not so surprised – we all do). Our children don’t always do as we tell them and yes, there are consequences, many of which we no longer control. It gets uncomfortable and we want to rush in and play Miss Fix-it to spare our loved one’s any hurt. Unfortunately, life isn’t like that. We can’t control, comfort, direct and dictate everything. Not for those that we love and often not even for ourselves.
One very simple, yet powerful lesson that I have learned in my life is that sometimes the mightiest show of strength is to remain very quiet. Seems counter intuitive, I know. After all, when body builders lift weights there’s all of the loud grunting and bulging biceps, right? When stepping into a situation where you want to protect your loved ones, every instinct says that you need to step forward and take charge. Loud and forceful! Are you a Momma Bear? If so, then you know that Momma Bears are rarely quiet. However, often the best approach to make it through some of the toughest times is to remain silent.
I think that this became particularly apparent as my older kids reached adulthood. Most young adults are itching to get out on their own and, trust me, you are pretty ready for them to leave your house, too! However, you know what life has in store for them and you know that it’s a lot harder than it looks. Now, they’re adults. They really don’t have to listen to you yet, you hope that they do. You pray that they make wise choices about their finances, careers, friendships and love interests. They are too grown up for you to control, but too young to really appreciate all of the complexities of living life on their own. I gave them my advice, I said my piece and made sure that they knew that I loved them. Then I remained silent, which was by far one of the hardest things I have ever done. There have been some successes where they outperformed anything that I could have expected. There have also been some tough times and Big Poppa and I still remained quiet because our decisions had been made and our position established. It was our grown children that had to bear the consequences. As a parent, that’s hard to watch but, it’s often strongest stand that you can take for the benefit of your family. Believe it or not, in the end, it makes them stronger, too.
No, it’s not always the best thing to do to barge in and (at least, attempt) to take charge. Sometimes your strongest statement is made when you simply remain silent.
This post is in response to the prompt ” Day 2: A Time When You Were Strong” on the blog link up “28 Days of Celebrating Thanks” hosted by Nicole over at Champagne to Crayons. You can read the other posts by my fellow bloggers here.