Can a parent move from the overwhelming desire to direct and control when a son is clearly headed down the slippery slope? This is probably one of the greatest challenges of parenting.
I thought I would share this poignant story of Lily and her son James (not their real names).
A wonderful young man in his twenties, James has had the hardest time fitting into the system. This young man is sensitive, loving and kind and very creative -- not exactly the qualities society expects of a young man. Hence his trouble. At some stage, like others with similar difficulties, James started to flirt with drugs.
Lily moved through all the stages that any caring mother would. From the initial disbelief, to finally recognizing, and then supporting James in addressing the issue. She discussed, she persuaded, she cajoled, she explained, she reasoned, she bargained and eventually spelt out the riot act. Lily needed to do something, to fix it, to feel that in some way she could influence the boy's decisions. She needed him to be in control of his life so she could be on top of hers.
Despite his genuine resolve to set matters right, James was by now so deep into the mess that he required professional help. Lily offered to get him that too. But James would have none of it.
Lily had run out of options, alternatives, strategies for action. Nothing seemed to help. What now?
At this critical juncture, Lily took a brave decision that few parents know how. She was not going to resign in anger and bitterness. She was not going to project her own insecurities and fears on James anymore. She would stop dwelling on the worst case scenarios.
Instead, Lily was going surrender to the process, and surrender with love. She recalled in her mind what a wonderful child James had been, the joys they had shared. She reminded herself that James had his own spiritual journey to follow that was not up to her to control. Her job was to love him and trust in his ability to find its way out of the maze. Her job was to be there when he needed her counsel and to respect his being.
This was a 180 degree turn around in mind set and attitude for Lily, not something that happens automatically, but with deep conviction and dedication. Lily was not about to take short cuts. Her son's future was at stake.
She used all the tools in her spiritual and energy healing toolbox to stay on track. Most of all she maintained her boundaries and made sure James had enough space to make his choices without her interference.
"Change the way you look at the world, and the world around you changes." These are Dr. Wayne Dyer's wise words. It took about two weeks for the real change to take place in this case. Mother and son had barely been in touch during this period, both acutely aware of the need to respect the other’s boundary.
On that bitterly cold and rainy night Lily found herself becoming anxious about James's whereabouts. Not allowing her anxiety to overcome her, she sent him a short loving text message. It was as if she had just opened the door James had been waiting for. He reached out to her for help like never before. He was sick of being sick and tired. He was done with this kind of life. He wanted to change. In the space Lily had created for him, James had finally come to realize the depth of his despair, and also the fact that no one could help him unless he wanted to be helped. He was ready now.
A very relieved Lily was glad to provide the support she had for so long wished to give James. And now that there were no controlling shackles to push against, a very determined young man realized his rare good fortune that his mother was lovingly standing by to support him.
He is well on his way to recovery. Doing could not accomplish it, loving did.
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