I've been doing some blog clean up lately and stumbled on several blog posts that I started and then never posted. This one really spoke to me as I was reading it. Not sure why I didn't post it before but, instead, I'll do that now.
What I've Learned From My Teenage Daughter
For some reason I thought being the parent meant that your kids learn from you. Perhaps that is still how it works most of the time. Lately though, I've realized that my teenage daughter has taught me some valuable lessons. I'll break them up so the posts don't get too lengthy. Here's the first lesson:
1- Some friendships aren't worth cultivating.
Miss M knows a lot of people but she only calls a select few of those people her friends and most importantly, that's how she likes it. We've had a lot of discussions about friendships over the last couple of years. We went through a period of time that there were some struggles as I saw things differently than she did. As a parent, I was pushing interaction, thinking she needed these friendships. I encouraged, and in some cases, kindly forced, her to reach out to the new kid or someone I thought needed a friend.
Now, before we get too deep into this discussion, I need to state that I really do believe in being friendly. I believe kindness matters and I try to encourage that with my kids. I believe that welcoming new people is important. We had just the opposite happen to us when we moved a few years back and so this topic hits close to home. For us, when we moved to a new town, Miss M sat alone at school lunch for two weeks. She would get in the car after school and break down. It was heartbreaking and completely out of my control. So, when the opportunity arose and there was a new kid, I always reminded Marinne of how hard it was to be the new kid and I would encourage her to reach out. The problem was, In my encouragement I was pushing for BFF's and I should have just been pushing the act of kindness instead. If they were meant to be best-friends, the act of kindness would have been the gate to lead to that naturally. Instead, I was pushing her to be a social butterfly- friend to all- best friend forever, from day one and I shouldn't have. Sometimes personalities just don't mix and I was not thinking of that. In hindsight, because I was pushing, I was putting her in an uncomfortable place.
After a particular day of struggles. Me pushing and her hesitating, we had a great discussion. In her wise-beyond-her-years wisdom she said, "Mom, I would rather have a couple friends I really like and that make me feel good than be around those that don't." (makes sense, I totally knew that, right?!) That was pretty much the end of the discussion. I stopped pushing the interaction and realized she knew far more than I did on the subject. I also realized she'd come along way since her 8th grade days of being new and hating being alone. Now, it was choice based off of what she instinctively knew was the best decision for her. How could I not respect that?
Friendships elude me sometimes. I get caught up in the "we have to be friends because _______. You can fill in the blank with almost anything. We have to be friends because we work together, we go to church together, our kids all like the color purple.
Insincere friendships aren't long lasting. Miss M figured that out. It's not about the quantity of friends but rather the quality of the friendship. I'm grateful for this lesson she has taught me.
The other night she shared a quote with me that sums it up really well:
"Some people come into your life as blessings
and others are lessons"
There's truth in that.
So very grateful she has the wisdom to see it that way. It will help her as she heads off to college in a few short months. And, it helps me because as I parent her two younger sisters, I will learn from my "pushing" mistakes and be better at helping them navigate their own friendships.
In other news, this lovely girl of mine that continues to teach me lessons, still has some items up for grabs on Etsy. She's just a few weeks away from her school trip to Europe and is still shy her food and souvenir money. (she's paying for 75% of the trip herself) Any-who - if you spend $16 or more you can use coupon code MISSM and get %15 off your total purchase.
Flower sets (7 in each set) are $8.50 - and the necklaces below are made out of custom artwork by Miss M herself! They are $12 each.