The last few years have been incredibly difficult. A pandemic. Wildfires. Floods. Intense political polarization punctuated by political unrest. Schools have closed. Parents have fought with each other. The economy has whipsawed. Prices have skyrocketed. Scientists tell us the change is not exactly perceptible, but it feels like everything is getting hotter, like nature’s meta structures are breaking apart, and everything is in danger.
It’s been stressful and hard on you too, yes? Well, how hard do you think it’s been on your kids? Sure, our kids are resilient. They’re stronger than some people seem to think. And we’ve tried to shield them. But there’s only so much we can do and only so strong they can be. This has to have been extremely tough on them. How could it not be? How could they not sense and feel what’s going on?
And whether they’re 4 or 14 or 40, they do not have the skills or experience that you have in dealing with stuff like this. They don’t have the perspective. They haven’t “been through things like this before.” They don’t yet fully understand the wisdom of that old Zen story about how one should “wait and see” before deciding whether events have been fully good or bad.
So what do they need from you? They need patience. They need space. They need help. They need someone who encourages them, who picks them back up, who empathizes with them. They need someone who understands, as we’ve said, that behavior is the first language of children and that you’ll see where and how they’re struggling long before they’re able to tell you.
Maybe your parents couldn’t do that for you. Maybe they didn’t get that kind of patience and space and support from their parents, so they had nothing to pass onto you. Well just because they didn’t know what to do doesn’t mean you can’t learn. That’s part of the reason you’re here, right? What you can do, right now, is break that chain and be that anchor, be that shelter for your kids.
They need it. The world needs it.