Posts Tagged ‘empty nest syndrome’


You Are More Than What They See

OK…I will get straight to the point.  Parenting is only a “role”, NOT who YOU are.  Do not lose yourself trying to help someone else discover who they are, even if they are your children.  This is easier said than done.  We are only 3 sentences in and you have already quoted or remembered advise that someone told you before your first one was born.  “Make time for yourself!”  But in reality, with all of the demands (task) that others place on our schedule, we feel an overwhelming burden to make sure that everyone else’s needs are taken care of that we forget that we have needs, wants, and desires of our own.

Parenting is only a Role

The above image (courtesy of www.rebirthofreason.com) is a great depiction of our lives.  It is easy to become consumed with the many tasks associated with the various roles that we lose who we are. Parenting is no different.

Before becoming a husband or wife, a mother or father, a professional or tradesman, I was (Insert your name here).  You never ceased being (Insert your name here) when you took on these roles.  These roles simply meant that you have new responsibilities and tasks associated with who you are, but they should not redefine who you are.

The Danger in the Chaos

You can not delegate the responsibilities of being (Insert your name here) to anyone else.  Therefore, if you do not make the time to remember, discover, and cultivate (Insert your name here), you may wake up tomorrow, or even worse…years from now, wondering where all of the time has gone.  You may even resent the roles, task, responsibilities and the people associated with each because you now realize that it was all for them and not you.

The Battle Within

Selfish, huh? NOPE!  Maybe from their perspective, but not when you have neglected other God-given assignments, passions, dreams that have been lying dormant inside of you because of your focus on all of the other “stuff!”

When kids move out, some parents realize they have lost their sense of self and for others their marriages fall apart because a disproportionate amount of time, talent, and treasure was spent on one role (name your role/task here) than on others (husband/wife or name your role/task here).

Parenting is a role that lasts a lifetime, but should be redefined as your children reach various milestones.  I believe some parents enable their kids, self consciously or purposely, so that they do not leave the home at 18.  This allows them to continue being a parent and not face the reality of it only being a role.

Digging for Treasure (Discover & Cultivate You)

There is a treasure, a passion, a calling that was hidden inside of you at conception (2 Corinthians 4:6-7 KJV).  When we were kids, our self conscience allowed us to live in that place for hours at a time, imagining (visioning) what life would be like when we were older. To cultivate something is to prepare and develop it for a greater use.  We must put down all of the tasks, even the ones that we feel are most important and even define who we are, to discover and cultivate our true sense of self.

When you know who you are, I would venture to say that you will preform your tasks at an even higher level of excellence, because they will be wrapped in the true essence of who you are.

So…Tell Me About (Insert your name here)

I just love that interview question, “Tell me about yourself.” Even when meeting someone for the first time, we define ourselves by the “role(s)” we value most. “Hi…I’m a Doctor, a Lawyer, Stay-at-home Mom/Dad.”

Why don’t we say “Hi, I’m a Christian, an optimistic, adventurous, generous, caring creative, resilient, hard worker, etc. These descriptions actually give a glimpse into who you are and how you handle the various roles, task, and responsibilities assigned to you.

Start TODAY!!!

Below are a few steps that you can take TODAY to discover and cultivate the true YOU!

  1. Find Quiet Time. Find at least 30mins a day, when you do nothing but sit in silence.  I know..30mins seems too good to be true.  Start with 5 mins, then work your way up.  I hear you, I need more time! MAKE THE TIME!  Delegate some of those other tasks and responsibilities. This is important to your mental and physical health and well-being. Remember, quiet time.  Not reading a book or browsing social media.  Complete silence.
  2. Find Your Frequency: Drown out the noise, so that you can hear what is going on inside of you.  Your brain will be used to being overstimulated, thinking about what you should be and could be doing.  Relax!  Give it time.  This is kinda like a finding the frequency to your favorite radio station.  It is always on air, but it is up to you to “tune in” to the proper frequency to hear what is being said.  Give it time.
  3. Write YOUR Vision: But Not Yet!  You must take the time to retrain your mind on how to drown out the noise so that you can hear clearly.  After a couple weeks, your true self will continue to speak.  Do not worry about forgetting what you thought about.  If it is really who you are and not just another good idea for someone else’s benefit, it will come to your again.  Listen for patterns and themes of thought.
  4. Cultivate: After you have written down who you are, begin to take the steps required to prepare and develop YOU!  This is a journey, not a destination.  When you are tuned in, you will continuously discover ways to become the YOU you were born to be.

TheOriginalMentor

 


My son is 8. His grandparents (and other family members) have asked if he can spend the SUMMER with them? “ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?” At least that is what I thought, well I kinda say it too. There is no way I can go an entire summer without my LiL Homie (that’s what I can call him). I guess we should think of it as a complement, that someone would want to spend an entire summer with our son…and they asked us.

I asked someone the other day, at what age does a parent switch from dreading their child being gone for so long to asking “wanna take em for the summer?”

Well, we gave in, a little, and allowed him to go with Grandparents for 2 and a half weeks. He is in North Carolina spending much needed time with aunts, uncles, and cousins. But, we are only half way through and it feels like an eternity.

What is it that causes us, as parents, to press the “panic button” when our children are away for long periods of time? Fear that something might happen? Yep…but I have gotten passed that phase (with much prayer). But let’s fast forward about 10 years, to a time when it’s a bit longer than a summer vacation with family. A friend of mine said something the other day that made my stomach drop. He said, “You realize you only have another 10 years with him? After that, he will be moving on to college. Value and cherish the time now.” As I reflected, what made my stomach drop was the feeling of “not being needed” by him any more. Huuuhhhhh!!! (you know the sound you make when someone punches you in the gut?)

As a parent our goal should be to work ourselves out of a job. Parents have instincts to nurture, teach, and develop, but we still want to hold on forever. The Discovery Channel displays how animals and other species help their young discover their “kill or be killed” instinct…fly or fall to your death reality. There comes a time when a momma eagle will push her baby out of the nest and they better flap their wings before they hit the ground (or else).

There will come a time when we will have to trust what we have placed inside of them. A time when they can make decisions for themselves.

As parents, we can not hold on so tight (at 8 years old) and expect them, at 18, to be ready to make decisions and live apart from us if we never provide them with the opportunity to practice their decision making (while they are still within our reach to guide them when they made a mistake

They will make mistakes, that’s apart of the growth process. For some, success starts to feel like failure when their child begins to stand on their own two feet, realizing their independence, not needing us for every decision. We may mask it or not realize it, but empty nest syndrome is very real! We have to trust what we put inside them or start today preparing them for a life apart from us. The reality is, we will not be by their side all the time, but we should want them to use what we taught as a reference as they stand at the crossroads of life…having the moral compass to know right from wrong, good from bad, success from negative consequence, their decision not ours.

My wife and I now see it more as passing the torch. We want our son to be exposed to more than who we are so that he can discover who God has made him to be. It’s a big world out there and we can not possibly teach him all that he needs to know. We are imparting God’s word in him, so he will seek Gods voice as a guide instead of ours who could possible steer him wrong. We want him to realize who we were depending on to guide him in the first place. If you want to know the purpose of a thing, you must ask the one who created it. He is the only one that “knows the plans that He has for us, to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

When we take the focus off ourselves and focus on preparing them, our feeling of failure transforms into a feeling of joy as we realize that what we see them doing is flapping their wings right before they hit the ground. Now…we just have to let them fly.