I am quite fond of the phrase "Never stop learning." I hope people always take whatever opportunity that becomes available to expand their horizons, meet new people, or explore new surroundings. Learning is essential to survival; but, I never considered the fact that my child could teach me a valuable lesson. I was proven wrong this past weekend.


Our oldest is a people pleaser. I understand this mindset because I used to be just like her -- I never wanted anyone unhappy or upset. I gave up on trying to ensure everyone’s happiness a long time ago, but I'm very aware that The Oldest has this tendency. She and I had a conversation and at the end of this talk I discovered that she has been trying incredibly hard lately to behave in a certain way because this is what she thought I required.

Now for some parents, this may be a dream scenario. What's there to complain about? Your pre-teen is doing what you asked, why complain? Well, what she was doing was actually going completely against who she is. My amazing, beautiful gift from God was trying to change herself in order to please me. Talk about feeling small -- I felt like a horrible person. Instead of allowing her to be, and be proud of who she is, I had somehow made my daughter feel like who she is isn't good enough.

Most parents want what's best for their kids. We would give them a kidney if necessary. One thing we don't do very well sometimes is to allow kids to become who they inherently are. We enroll kids in ballet, karate, voice lessons, acting lessons, fencing, choir... We give kids activities under the guise of opportunities, but this may come at a price for kids. While they're being shuttled from practice to activity, they aren't able up explore their environments and develop interests naturally. In the search for the best for our kids, the parents end up exhausted and the kids end up busier than any child should be.

In the search for perfection for my daughter I lost sight of what was important. She's at the age where she needs to learn to make decisions for herself. Her dad and I can't always be with her. So The Oldest and I talked. She was honest with me and basically pointed out what I've been doing wrong. I was honest with her and apologized, because sometimes parents have to do that.

I've always considered myself a tolerant, well-rounded person, but my daughter showed me I have a long way to go. I have to learn to accept my lovely daughter the way she is, even if it’s different from my expectations. It's time to make my role in her life more of an advisor and allow her to determine more of her own destiny. Sure hope I can let go enough.