It was also the weekend of being outdoors, snuggling in front of the bonfire, and looking at the stars. Every so often we would see a satellite zooming by and that started a conversation on the sun and stars. "Why can I see the satellite?" I asked. I was told that the sun, which is about 93,000,000 miles away and on the other side of the world, was reflecting on the satellite and that reflection allowed me to see it move through the night sky. Mind-boggling stuff yet it brings such a sense of wonder.
The conversation also touched on the young people in our lives. They're all at different ages and different stages of maturity, or immaturity for the boys, and we as parents are having to practice letting go. One young man is addicted to gaming. He is underweight for his age, not able to finish school, and feels that his parents are oppressive. He has found a job in another city, a basement apartment, and is talking about working for a year before finishing university. His parents are hopeful that this push out of the nest will help his maturity level and his overall life skills. But it is hard and worrying for them.
I understand that reluctance of letting go. My son has had type I diabetes since he was 8 years old. He is now 22 years old and at the age where he has to make his way in the world. I cannot do it for him. I can be there to support him when he runs into trouble but I cannot stand over him and tell him when and how to take his medicine. He may be my son but we walk on different paths and I have to honor his path. And that thought brings me back to the sun and the satellite.
If I think of my son as the ‘sun’ - he certainly brightens my day when he is around - and me as the ‘satellite’ then I can reflect back to him the light that he shines. He is funny, warm, loving, and social. I may not agree with all his choices but that doesn't change the fact that he’s old enough and intelligent enough to make them. Who am I to say they are right or wrong? I cannot see where my own path will lead me much less how and where his choices will take him. Rather than focus on what I think his mistakes are what I can do is see him as that warm, loving person and reflect that back to him with my words and actions.
And we can do that with anyone around us. Focus on their positive attributes. Reflect and remind them of the light that they bring to the world. Yes, people make poor choices. Help them out if you can, even if you can only support them with your presence and a reminder of what makes them shine.
And every so often, go look in the mirror and do it for yourself!