My life wouldn’t be what it is without my children, Melanie, Brooke, Max, and Zack. Although I’m not the perfect parent, I work hard and try to provide a safe, loving, and stable environment for my kids to learn and grow in. It’s often said that the parent is a child’s first teacher, coach, and mentor; that it’s our responsibility to model the behavior that we want our children to follow. This can be a little tricky at times, because even though my kids live under the same roof, they all experience life in their own special way. They have their own interests, thoughts, and feelings, so navigating the same problem can look a little different depending on the child. It’s up to me to work with each of my children to give them what they need to thrive. What I’ve learned over the years is that because my children are all so unique, they end up teaching me unique lessons in return. As much as I’d like to think that I’m the oh-so-important sensei, sometimes interactions with my kids leave me wondering who is really in the role of teacher, because I often feel like the pupil.
The other day, my daughter and I were talking about nervousness, and the different ways that nerves can physically manifest in the body. She had noticed that her nerves often caused her discomfort in the form of nauseousness, and she wasn’t sure how to control it. I was impressed with her self-awareness, and her ability to step back and realize that the two issues were linked. Without that realization, the discomfort caused by her nerves would be like a blindspot. She wouldn’t know what was causing it, so she wouldn’t have the tools she needed to navigate and try to control it.
It’s in these conversations that my children teach me about what’s really important. We all have internal battles and things that we struggle with everyday. I, too, have my own hidden blindspots that I should be excited about discovering. For me, a blindspot is like an “a-ha!” moment that forces me to face my limiting beliefs about myself and others. It’s not until I uncover and actually own those blindspots, though, that I gain any access to shifting them. In one simple, honest conversation, my daughter unknowingly answered questions that I didn’t even know I had. If my daughter hadn’t been so open and authentic about sharing her blindspots with me, I’d be walking around with the same blinders on, stagnant and stuck in my own limitations instead of exploring them for growth. The key is to be mindful and patient, and to lean into that discomfort to bring curiosity and wonder into those spaces.
To quote the dedication in my book, Time to Fly, “A wise person once told me that your children are your most important spiritual guides.” I have found that to be unquestionably true. My kids have made me a much better person. They are constantly teaching me to be patient and to question what I know. My kids are like gifts that keep on giving; teachers with so much wisdom to share. As long as I listen and stay curious, I’m able to hear their lessons. It’s because of my children that I learn and grow every day.