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Life starts with what you believe


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Staying Close While Letting Go

The very outcome I wanted as a parent, for my children to be adventurous, to follow their dreams and to dream big, has now become my source of daily concern.  (How did that happen?  Ughh!!)  And while my heart still encourages these sentiments, my mind is searching for ways to overcome the anxious thoughts and embrace a new parenting philosophy ‘my girls need me to be their friend, more than their parent.’   It’s strange how that old adage has reversed over time. Britts and I

So, I’ve been doing some reading on ‘staying close while letting go’ and found these thoughts helpful.[i]

Our adult children ‘don’t want a micromanager vetting their playmates, fretting about how much sleep they get or kibbitzing about how they spend their time. Instead, they’re looking for the very thing you once fantasized about: a wise and loving friend and mentor.

Question is, how do you, the parent or empty nester, restructure the relationship so you’re neither too involved, nor so hands-off there isn’t much of a relationship there at all?

The new you: advisor extraordinaire. It may be helpful if you think of yourself as a consultant instead of a 24/7 manager. Just like in the corporate world, good consultants offer expertise only when asked, couch it diplomatically and expect that at least half of what they say will be ignored. That’s OK. It’s no reflection on your superb (of course!) advice. Your input is just a part of what your now-grown child may be using to make a decision and in any case, it’s not your choice to make. But you can avoid hurt feelings on both sides if you preface your advice with phrases such as “One possible solution might be …” or “You’re probably looking at many issues, but one thing to consider is …”

Don’t zip it. Keeping communication lines open is even more important now as your roles shift.   Talk frankly and openly about what both of you want, need and expect in this new relationship. It may be as simple as a Sunday evening call home (yes, Madison), or another regular way to keep in touch.

Be respectful. You probably wouldn’t criticize a friend’s choice of profession or hemline, yet it’s common to blurt those well-intentioned, but oh-so-poorly-phrased criticisms to an adult child: “You’re not going to wear that, are you?” or “What kind of job is that for an adult?” If you truly thought your friend was making a terrible mistake, you’d tell him, but carefully and tactfully. Exercise the same respect and compassion with your adult child. At the same time, be aware that your adult child will probably hear implied criticism in just about everything you say, including “Gee, you look tired.” Talking it out helps.

Nurture the relationship. Here’s the best part: Friends do stuff together. They talk on the phone, send texts and spend time together exploring shared interests. They respect each other’s busy schedules, but find ways to stay connected. Enjoy it.


[i]  http://youngadults.about.com/od/parentinggrownups/a/Stayingclose.htm


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Who Could You Be If You Did Not Have Fear?

fear

Nothing causes more sleepless nights than fear. Fear of failure, fear over finances and health and business decisions.  Fear of spiders, snakes and small spaces. Fear for the future of our children.  And there’s many, many more fears that fuel insomnia.  As a matter of fact, I found 68 documented types of fears that begin with the letter ‘A’ alone!  (Including allodoxaphobia; the fear of other people’s opinions :))

Fear is a persuasive motivator.  It has the ability to stir a flight or fight response as a result of adrenaline surging through our body. Unfortunately, fear is most commonly (at least in my opinion), a masterful de-motivator.  Like the classic ‘deer in the headlights’ syndrome, fear often stifles activity and paralyses the creative energy needed to find solutions in stressful situations.

A few weeks ago, I went to the movies with my family. As I waited for the show to begin, the words spoken in the movie trailer for After Earth, caught my attention. ‘Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand, danger is real, but fear is a choice.’ 

Wow. Those words have replayed over and over in my mind, along with similar sentiments I had previously noted about fear.

Joyce Meyer1 ‘Fear is a dangerous virus. It begins as a thought in your head, then affects your emotions and behaviours.’

Dr. Wayne Dyer2 ‘The components of anxiety… and fear… do not exist independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world, unless we let them.’

Dr. Max Lucado3 ‘Fear is like an invisible prison with an unlocked door. It holds you captive, influencing your choices and perceptions about life, God, and other people, but you can leave any time you want.’

As a counsellor, I often ask my clients who are struggling with fear (or worry and anxiety) this question; ‘Who could you be if you did not have fear?’  Without exception, the picture they paint of life without fear is always inspiring, full of great adventure, love and courage. This alternate life they envision, seems to be motivated by faith.

Yes, faith is an equally powerful motivator. I believe faith opposes fear. The more faith, the less fear. The more fear, the less faith.

Fear ———————————————————— Faith

Surprisingly, fear and faith possess several similar characteristics. Both are the stimulus that affect our emotions and actions. Both depend on our choices to exist. Both affect our perceptions about life, God and others. Both have the ability to create the life we end up living. However, and not surprisingly, the picture of a life lived by fear is worlds apart from a life that is lived by faith!

It’s the start of a new year.  Who could you be if you did not have fear?

1Bestselling author and teacher.

2Internationally known author and speaker.

3Christian author and renown teacher.