I have loved being a parent since they laid my first born son into my arms at the hospital almost 16 years ago. It was a change that happened deep inside of me. I totally became a new person on this day. Since that hot day in July, I have made my children my life, and put them in front of myself in every manner. I would sacrifice my life for my children and actually some days I feel like I owe them my life! If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
It’s funny how when they first came into my life I read parenting book after parenting book trying to make sure I was serving them to the highest of my ability. I wanted to teach them to become all that they were created to be, but somehow, they turned this intent totally around and now they are teaching me to be all I’ve been created to be. They are showing me how to become a better person. They are forcing me to keep an open mind and change my views and ways.
Now that my oldest is almost 16, I find myself nostalgic and reflecting on how we have all grown over this period of time. The best thing happened to our family the other day. My son made a very poor choice at school and had to make an incredibly uncomfortable phone call to me. I could tell in the tone of his voice that he was devastated and trying to keep his emotions under control.
As he explained his situation and his disappointment in himself, I was put into an opportunity to implement my latest obsession…living by the Tao Te Ching. That morning, I had been chatting with a friend about their “perceived” lazy daughter. I had explained to them that laziness is just a perception and went on to teach them my favorite verse of the Tao Te Ching. Verse 37 says, “The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone. If powerful men could center themselves in it, the whole world would be transformed by itself, in its natural rhythms. When life is simple, pretenses fall away; our essential nature shine through. By not wanting, there is calm and the world will straighten itself. When there is silence, one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself.”
The most important part of this entire verse is the first sentence. Do nothing and nothing gets left undone. I was explaining to my friend to just let their child be, and watch how she will just blossom into the amazing creature that she really is. But how many parents really want to try and control their children and create them into what they THINK they should be.
Right after this chat with my friend, I got my own test of practice-what-you-preach phone call from my incredible son. A test to see what would I do in this situation? How would I react when the shoe was on the other foot? A situation that I thought I would never be faced with was starring me straight at me, waiting for my reaction. Could I do nothing, and let the universe make sure nothing gets left undone?
To my surprise, I did just that. A total calm came over me and I let my son just get out his feelings and reminded him of all the spiritual teachings that I’ve learned and been teaching him over the last four years. I told him to stay in the now, he couldn’t change the past, but he could change how he reacted to this situation and his future. We did a mindful hug over the phone to ensure him that I trusted he’d do all the right things to fix the unfortunate event to the best of his ability. I reminded him that everything happens for a reason and something wonderful always comes out of our pain.
I left all punishment in his own hands and put the responsibility-ball in his court to see how he thought the situation should be dealt with. Would he knock it out of the park, or strike out? I tried my best to create no resistance in this situation and just let the universe take control. I held strong to the last part of this verse, “By not wanting, there is a calm, and the world will straighten itself.”
After this was all over, and the waves from that day had settled, I did explain to my son how incredibly proud of him I was. His choices on how he handled the entire situation was very mature and wise. From apologizing to the people he wronged without my guidance or influence, how he took full responsibility for his own actions, to how his own self-punishment was exactly what he needed. He took the appropriate steps he should have and he actually did anchor himself the universe that is found within him. He was connected to the Tao without even realizing it…as we all are. His true nature shone through in this trying time. I witness it with my own eyes!
I think we all should try and change the way we think about power and success that has been forced into our thinking by this over-egoed society we live in. We have to remind ourselves that we don’t have to be the best at everything, or out do others. We don’t have to make ever thing perfect in our lives. We are all going to make mistakes, but we can’t beat ourselves up. We have to deal with the situation, learn from it and move forward. Let nature take its course.
As parents, spouses, leaders, teachers and friends, sometimes we have to learn to just bite our tongues, extinguish our emotions, and let go of all control. Just let what has to happen—happen. We can fight the Tao or just give into it. In all reality, this makes life much simpler. Controlling things is what brings unneeded stress in our lives that all of us seem so desperate to get rid of…but none of us are willing to give up our control. We want happiness and peace, but won’t release this part of us that will bring these treasures to each and everyone of us.
It’s time to let go of our need to try and control every little aspect of our lives. Stop this obsessive wanting that the Tao talks about and you will find the calm. The peace. Let your children, your spouse, your friends and family just be. Just let the Tao, the Universe, the Divine or whatever you want to call this higher power, take over. It is going to in the end whether you want it to or not. Why fight it? Find your silence and let the Tao anchor itself to you. I promise, it will never disappoint!