By Tammy Graham
Have you ever watched a child learn to walk? Though we want them to learn, do we force them? NO! We watch, offer guidance, encouragement, and praise. The children are successful without our forcing them. What be learned from this? That people do what they are capable of doing, what they have the skills to do, and what they choose to do. When we have a wish we often become critical of others, coercive, judgmental, and prideful. When we have a goal, we become loving, supportive, patient and kind. Goals yield better results than wishes because with goals we are in control.
Wishing is to have a desire, longing or craving for, or a want. When we have a wish we forfeit our happiness and success to others. We feel the need to coerce and manipulate in attempt to gain back some feeling of control. We get frustrated because our expectations are not being met. We have all forced others because of our wishes. I wished to prove that my capabilities as homeschooling mother, so I forced my daughter, at age four, to have reading lessons. I got frustrated, she resisted and resented me. I did not get what I wished. All I did was kill her spirit, stifle her self-exploration and caused her fear and undue stress. Perhaps I was also causing her to feel hurt, unloved, incapable, dependent, and worthless as people often feel when one’s will is being unnecessarily forced upon them. Do you think my daughter lost trust in me when I forced her unnecessarily? Was I showing that I trusted her? Since then I have made it my goal to have a reading rich environment in our home so she can learn of her own free will when she is ready.
Recently our family was walking into the church building and I could tell my husband was frustrated. I asked him why and he replied, “I’m upset because you made me late to church and I hate being late.” In that statement he let me know that he gave me control over his feelings and his being late to church. He could have left without us in his truck as he noticed we were running behind, he had options he chose not to take. My husband blamed me for his troubles. In the book “Bonds that Make us Free”it states, “Blame is a lie by which we convince ourselves that we are victims. It’s the lie that robs us of our serenity, our generosity, our confidence, our delight in life.” It’s giving an outside source power over us to control our happiness and success in life. Who are you blaming for your not meeting your goals and desires for happiness? Your siblings, your spouse, the government, the person that cut you off this morning? You fill in the blank.
What if, as a mother, I have a wish in the best interest of my children? What could I do, knowing it’s unwise to force my children to comply? I can teach them correctly and let them make their own choices from there. They have the ultimate power over their lives. I can be an example for them, love them and serve them. I can involve them in my life by working and playing with them without an ulterior motive. If I wish my children to be happy, talented, confident, and compassion then it can be my goal to be that way now as a parent. Children will do what we do, not necessarily what we say. If I spend time developing my talents and serving others, they likely will internalize those same values. They mirror us. Are my wishes for my children my goals? Am I how I want my children to be as adults?
For years I have had the wish of being financially prosperous. I’ve done many things previously mentioned to get my husband to fulfill this wish of mine. It failed. Realizing this, I set a goal for myself, as personal life coach Bob Procter says, to “let go and let God”. Best selling author Leslie Householder says it well “We must set our goals and do our part, trusting that the right people will show up at the right time. If a loved one is not on board like we would hope, we must give them the freedom to participate or not. Your goals and dreams have the power to arrange everything as they ought to be arranged without manipulation and without force.” She said to set YOUR goals, that manipulation is not necessary to achieve a happy and fulfilling life. I would add that perhaps the things we wish for our loved ones to do are the things we ought to be doing ourselves.