My daughter April has played netball since 8 years of age. By age 10 the sport of netball becomes fiercely competitive as the most skilled netballers vie for a place in the coveted State Representative squads. April failed to make the development squad and then the Representative squad two years running. This definitely impacted her confidence and resilience. This year however she did make the grade and at the eleventh hour decided not to trial. Coaches, managers and mums were shocked. I was heartbroken. After all, this had been Aprils dream for at least 2 years running and here she stood, on the cusp of realising a long standing dream and she just… lets it go!
What was interesting for me was watching my own response to April’s decision. Almost 13 years old now she is well on her way to self determination. For children, as a society we like to think we encourage our children through their developmental milestones. Resilience, Self Determination, Capacity, Intimacy (with the opposite sex…eeeck!), Independence from parents etcetera, but when it comes down to it often our behaviours belie our words. Well thats how it was for me.
Then I realised something, and our team manager confirmed it. April had the courage and strength to stand by her decision even in the face weighty disapproval. For a start, she’d be disappointing her mum, her fellow team mates, coaches and managers. And the biggest one of all – appearing to not make the cut the third time round (there’s a published list). April didn’t let any of these things affect her decision. She had her reasons (which even to this day I struggle with grasping) and she was determined to stand by them.
My key take away? This will be the first of many decisions April will make in her life that I don’t necessarily agree with. This scenario reminds me of sustainable landscapes. I could have forced her to trial the same way man forces himself upon the landscapes of the world. Or, I could stand back, observe and appreciate April – and the landscape of her – trust in her intrinsically and work in alinement with her. I call this sustainable parenting.
Lebanese artist, poet and writer Kalil Gibran encapsulates this idea beautifully. Of children he says;
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 theirs should dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that his arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Children, parenting, love, sustainability, netball, representative, landscape, happy, family, education, quality, area, 3, physical environment, soul