Parenting. Power. Envy

Being a parent implies we guide our child as they take their first steps into the world.
We brought them in so we owe it to them.
It is a journey with an uncertain destination which makes it the more unique.
Here’s my take on it.
Guide the child in the direction of their finding their own power.
It’s in them somewhere.
They just have to find it.
We can’t do it for them but we can have a hand in guiding them there.
They will need all their power because the world can be a rough place to be in.
Nature endows each one of us with a set of abilities. Helping the child connect to those abilities early on helps them find a reliable source of joy to offset the inevitable disappointments and failures.
At the start every child is a big question.
Yet what lies in them, when expressed, will have the capacity to dazzle, invent or soothe, discover or comfort, and so open the way for humanity’s betterment.
We have a huge role to play in facilitating the process.
Conversations with observant teachers, or anyone who interacts with the child, can be enlightening, for as the child is exposed to different situations their abilities will begin to reveal themselves.
Some abilities may not manifest themselves early on because they need time to mature, but so long as the child is experiencing moments of joy in exploring their world, sooner or later they will move toward something dear to them and which hard challenges they will endure.
Exposing the child to our interests is desirable, but they should not be imposed on the child.
Interests that flow freely are the ideal.
As we journey with our child we will come across envy. It is part of living, since nature scatters her gifts widely and entirely at her discretion, giving more to some and less to others.
The world being so competitive, envy is part of our daily existence.
Parents have a great deal to say as to how envy is addressed and managed.
We should not shy from calling it what it is.
Envy, the ‘painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage’ (Merriam-Webster’s) is a powerful emotion that is seldom mentioned.
Think back on your own upbringing. How often was the word or sentiment expressed?
And yet it was often the source of conflict, hidden or manifest. Introducing it in our daily vocabulary becomes essential.
We learn to live with it by looking it in the eye, accepting it, then telling ourselves, ‘whatever the other has that I don’t have is their power. They found it. It is theirs. I must respect that. In turn I must focus on finding my own power. As I do I will better manage my resentment, and not let it fill me with hatred.’
If we say that, then we will be back on our own journey to find what gives us the most satisfaction.
We’re on the right path if what we’re doing is making us stronger and wiser. That goes for both parent and child.
Keep doing what makes us stronger and wiser and we stand a good chance of finding personal peace, while exciting our ambitions and capacity to love.
Our children can’t live our lives for us. It is up to every one of us.
It’s critical for the parent not to be envious of their children. Not to stand in their way.
Their course in life is for them to set.
We guide, encourage, assist, nurture, because that’s the agreement we entered when we brought them into this world.
And yet the process affects the parent, too.
The more a parent endeavors to recognize their own abilities and follow their own path, the more respectful they will be of the abilities of the child they brought into this world.
To parent a child is to learn to better parent ourselves. Overcome the deficits we’ve had to live with and work with what nature gave us.

Envy, release me from your hold,
Let my powers grow bold,
For as they do, my freedom soars.

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oscar

oscar

writer and psychiatrist with an interest in current affairs