Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Raising Children Part 2: Parents as Mentors

Recently, my son changed schools. He now attends a private academic school and loves it! I've wanted him to have this opportunity so that he can flourish. It has meant that I have to let go and allow him to go beyond where I can lead him. It was an easy choice for me, but also a bittersweet one.

For most of us who are parents, we've come to discover that parenting is a series of episodes of 'letting go'. We who teach our children to ride a bike know quite literally that there is a point at which we must let go in order to let them cycle ahead. We can't run as fast as they can ride once they've mastered the skill. And yet, isn't there that moment when they do take the bike faster and further than they could when we were holding on that we both celebrate their freedom and achievement and ache - just a bit - for their dependence and helplessness?

I am finding that parenting is like mentoring, as my child becomes more independent. 

A good mentor wants his students to go beyond his level of expertise. He gives all of his knowledge, experience and wisdom; he sees in his pupils gifts, abilities and promise that go beyond what he has. He wants to inspire and not to limit their progress, and hopes they will excel beyond what he can give them. So it is with good parenting.

As my son grows into the gifts and abilities he has, he will excel in areas I cannot access. Quite the scientist, he will have opportunities I never had, and balanced with his aptitude he will certainly become a better scientist than I. But I want that for him. I'm excited for him. There is a cost in that I may not grasp some of what interests or intrigues him. I may not be able to share the nuance of his discoveries. There is in me a twinge of loss or trepidation, but that is more than surpassed by the gratitude I have that he has this opportunity. And I hope that whoever he is and in whatever area he chooses to excel he will find nourishment, excitement and joy.

I take great delight in knowing that I am, by my definition at least, a good mentor.

See you next week with more thoughts and discoveries about raising children.
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