We owe it to our children or our future children to overcome, to rise above, to live well. We often do not realize the extent to which our struggles, demons and limitations act as a noose around the neck of our children. It is one thing to decide to give in to our own addictions, weaknesses or fears, it is another when that choice stands to greatly affect our progeny. The learnings of our youth whether direct or indirect have a greater impact on our actions, choices or beliefs than we realize. “Actions speak louder than words” is one of the truest statements. As parents we can say do as I say, not as I do. However, children believe what we do.
My parents did a great job at counseling me about certain issues. Regardless of the state of their marriage, they taught me about what is important in a relationship. I remember my father making me watch marriage videos when I wanted to watch cartoons. They taught me that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real, that I could do or be anything in life. They taught me that I deserved the best in life, that God loves us, the importance of eating healthy. They did an amazing job of telling me what to do. Sadly, they were not always able to overcome these issues for themselves.
All of their right teachings could not save me from the struggles that I would inherit by watching them. Somewhere along the line, I absorbed many of the issues that they have struggled with for life. Even though I know better intellectually, I do not feel that I am worthy or that I deserve the best. No amount of convincing or intellectualizing can convince me otherwise. Although I choose often to act in spite of fear, I often keep myself from doing things that I want in life due to fear. While I tell myself that God loves me, and even know it intellectually, I do not feel it to be true emotionally. I know that failure is a part of success, I still fear it, and often avoid it.
While these things may seem small in and of themselves, all added together, they make for a life less than what we are capable of. Due to all of the counseling my parents gave me, I am at least aware of it and work to change it for myself. That is half the battle. Too often, people are not even aware of the beliefs that they continue to live out unconsciously. If we desire to teach our kids that they are worthy, able, capable, loved, that there is nothing to fear, that they are prosperous, smart, beautiful, etc, you must live that for yourself. If you want your kids to have the courage to fly, you must fly yourself. If you want your children to be surrounded with love, you must treat yourself with love and surround yourself with those who love you. If you want them to be fearless, you have to be willing to stare fear down. It is simply not enough to tell them. It is no different in giving yourself oxygen on a plane before you give it to your children. You cannot effectively teach what you don’t have for yourself. Our children deserve the best version of ourselves.