You had the power all along, my dear.
I just returned from a five day road trip with my kids – a whirlwind tour from Phoenix to Sacramento Valley to Orange County. Some of you might remember that 18 months ago, I did another road trip with my offspring – and blogged a lot about that wonderful, winding tour of discovery – about parts of the country we had not seen before, as well as learning about my own kids in a unique way (and in very tight quarters!) This trip was a little different – for me, it was a homecoming that brought up all kinds of thoughts and feelings about what it means to be home, to relate to a physical place, and to ponder what role that plays in my life. And it was my opportunity to introduce my kids to a part of my life they have never been exposed to, to share with them the beauty of Northern California’s golden hills, to introduce them to my oldest friends from elementary school, my coolest friend from high school and my dearest and funniest friend from college. I had so much to share, crammed into five days and many, many miles.
I started this road trip the same way I started this blog: thinking it was all about me – my home, my friends, my history and experiences. But after five days in a rented minivan, cruising at ridiculous speeds through the garlic fields of Gilroy, dodging fast-trotting pedestrians in Chinatown and stewing impatiently in the hot fishbowl of the front seat in San Jose rush hour traffic, I yet again discover a new depth of awareness. And it’s not about me at all.
Our children are powerful.
That is not a revolutionary sentiment. But I do not believe we give it enough thought. Or space.
My kidlets are 18, 16 and 13. And they are the most powerful creatures I have ever met. Whatever the ages of your children, I ask you to really look at them. If you don’t have kids, take a close look at a niece, a nephew, a friend’s kid you might know. Actually, I suspect those of you without kids have a better perspective on the power of children than us parents.
Unburdened by history, by lengthy relationship patterns and preconceived notions, our children are intuitive, curious and thoughtful. They are fearless. They can change the world because they believe they can. They are not hampered by practicality, not yet jaded from experience. They wield intelligence, energy and creativity like a lazy pair of jeans. They don’t have to find their passion and believe in it because they are living it – it’s not a “one day” dream to be considered for a future, more sensible time. Uninhibited, they blithely move forward with their plans, unaware and unconcerned about potential future roadblocks. They are born this way – as were we. And they continue this way. Until.
Until there is a point when the blade edge is dulled so that it only nics if you firmly, intentionally press it. We pass that on to our children. We dull the edge. When did we do that? When did you decide to play it safe with your life instead of living the life you wanted when you were 6 or 20? When did you stop believing in your power?
You and I, we aren’t children anymore. We are more experienced, mature… but what sets us apart from our children is only how much we’ve let go of our belief in ourselves.
So really, you are powerful, too. If you allow yourself to be.
Natalie Hahn O’Flaherty is a principal at Dirty Girls Consulting, offering programs that support women. Women work differently, think differently, and it is up to us to develop this difference into our strength. We explore breaking free of traditional standards, accomplishing professional and personal goals to create an authentic, fully loved life. Read more Dirty Girl Consulting blogs here.