'Seek not to make them like you…'

Children are deprived not because we do not give them things, but because we do not sufficiently value what they give us. We need to be alert to welcome what children have to offer. You remember how Kahlil Gibran wrote about children,

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

Our children are flying forward into areas we have not charted ourselves. What is asked of us is in Kahlil’s last phrase, ‘Even as the Archer loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.’ We are expected to be calm, reliable, showing a steady love in our own lives, and to offer our children what Jesus offered: time, love, stability, and a readiness to bless. – Sacred Space

What an apt reflection for the week of John’s wedding!

I’ve always had a strong ‘mothering’ instinct, and needless to say, John has always been a key candidate for it. I’m sure he would tell you that it is both a blessing and a curse, for in my keenness to teach, guide and protect him, I sometimes become too smothering. I have always meant well, but always had trouble discerning where the point of letting go and letting someone I care about make his/her own decisions is… even if I am convinced the decision is a terrible mistake.

When it comes to John, it can be especially challenging to remember to treat him with the respect due to a grown man because in my eyes he is forever my little brother. Now and then, I still find myself itching to ‘lecture’ him or tell him how he ought to do things in the manner I used to do when we were children. But now I try to hold back and be more mindful of what I say and how I say it. I know that I will always have the right as well as the duty to exhort and remind him to walk on the correct path in life, but I must learn to do so with respect.

Let’s all aspire to be stable arrows for others, being steady in love and always ready to bless!

My Mom, My Mentor in Letting Go

My mother is someone for whom letting go is very hard as well because she loves very deeply and has very high standards for doing anything. Yet, she has been so wonderful on her end of the bargain that it is easy for me to forget how challenging it must be for her and that she too is still learning.

Mom has never been the kind of mother that makes her children feel that we need to earn her most basic trust or confidence. Instead, her trust and confidence has always been the foundation that gives us the courage to try things we didn’t believe we could do. As we mature and become more worthy of her trust, so her trust in us continues to grow.

As a daughter and a wife, one thing that never fails to impress me is how much respect my mother gives my husband. When I discuss issues and decisions with her (as I still do for my mom and Zibin are my two best advisors), she will tell me what she thinks, but she will always end with the reminder that what Zibin and I decide on as a couple is more important than her opinion. She tells me not to feel burdened about choosing differently than she recommends as long as I live faithfully as God’s child. It is not just empty talk for her actions always show that she means what she says.

Ever since I was a teenager, Mom has been teaching me how to learn to let go in my role as the older sibling. I see her as my mentor in life, always modeling for me what I will need to learn to do in a few decades’ time. She, like her father before her, is a firm believer that we can learn a lot from other people’s experiences if we pay attention and reflect. If we do that, we don’t have to start from scratch and we would learn even faster when we start our own experiences. I believe that too, and that’s why I’m always keen to share anecdotes and experiences! :)

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