Parenting them like they are the hero/ heroine of their own story
I was thinking the other day that my daughter would make an incredible character in a novel. She has the strength to pull off some complicated story lines and I have this feeling that the story of her life will be quite the rich, beautifully told tale. As I had this thought, however, I realized the truth is it would be much easier to parent a child with a short, simple story. You know, 15-20 pages of something like "Her mom asked her to go make her breakfast and get ready for school and ... she did".
But is that really what I want for her? Is that really the story I want for her life? Is that what I see in her as her biggest, best told tale?
And then it occurred to me that most of us parent like we want the short, simple version of a story to play out for our children. We don't realize, because we are too close to the moment to moment parts of the story, that what will make their story divine and magical is all the stuff we ultimately would rather spare them from or not have to deal with. We don't parent our children like we want them to be the hero / heroine of their own story.
If I want my daughter to be the heroine in her story and I am guiding her towards that end, I will parent from a much different perspective, a perspective that is further away, not quite as up close as we tend to be in this relationships defined by overseeing every detail of their carefully orchestrated lives. This perspective is actually much more similar to how God views us. His perspective (on the mountain top, looking down) is clearly that we are truly beautiful, the best part of His story written yet. He allows us to play out our story knowing that He is so heavily invested in it and so fully and beautifully intertwined we can not escape Him and His story for us no matter how hard we try. He can allow our story to unfold however it will because He knows that His love and hold on us is inescapable.
Somehow the idea of placing my child as the heroine in her story allows me to see her with His perspective and allows me to hold her (ie: parent her), while holding her loosely. It allows me to loosen my grasp on her because I know that His grasp on her story is so clearly defined. And even further, I can begin to teach her, as her story unfolds, that she is writing it as she goes. It allows me to give her the tools to begin to craft the story of her life where she is indeed the heroine. In charge of following her path, listening to His guidance, capable yet likely to make the wrong turn at times. Parenting from this perspective allows me in turn to show her that exact perspective. It allows me to see her and to teach her to see herself and others from His perspective.
After all, the best gift from mother to child is to really, deeply, see them.