What some children I think are trying to say….

by Rod Smith

Dear Parent,

Please. Relax. Let go. Open your hand so I can grow.

I want the freedom all children deserve.

Please, emancipate me from the expectation of meeting your adult, ginormous needs.

Your need-to-succeed as a person, a parent, all centered on me, is a burden far too heavy for me to carry.

I am a child.

I cannot deliver you from the pain of the unfulfilled expectations of your own childhood. 

My childhood is not a recovery act for yours.

When you regard me as proof that you, the adult, have made it, we get entangled in ways that trip both of us up, and confounds us both.

Such covert expectations kills the joy that can unite us.

We are separate people.
It’s been that way from the very beginning. I know it and I’ve known it almost from the very beginning.

How come you don’t?

Why is this so much more difficult for you than it is for me?

While you regard me as an attachment, an extension of yourself, a banner announcing your success or declaring your failure, things get rough for both of us.

I am your child. I am not a trophy. I am not a ticket to greater happiness – although I do want you to be happy. I am a child. I am not endowed with special powers to make your life meaningful.

Of course I am special, and I am special to you, uniquely gifted, endowed with a God-given calling – but I am also, in many ways, just like millions of other children.

We both must remember this. Please don’t make me into something I am not and cannot become.

I am as unique as a proverbial fingerprint, AND, as common as any child ever born — ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I am a unique painting, a loving product of the Divine Hand – and yet, and yet, I am baptized into human condition, and as much like all humans as any – ALL AT THE SAME TIME. 

While you expect more than I am designed to deliver – we both feel the pressure and miss out on the real miracle we can know as parent and child.

With deep, appropriate love,

Your Child

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