“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, ‘Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.’ I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” – Carl Rogers
(Side note: I am back after a hiatus that included an extended family summer vacation and setting up a new office space – please see my post just before this one with photos of my new space!)
At my daughter’s 4-month old appointment with her pediatrician I said, “I don’t know, she’s just not laughing a lot yet.” The pediatrician turned to me and said dryly, “Guess you guys better work on your material.” This is precisely why we chose this pediatrician, after working with another for a couple of months who just wasn’t a good fit, she tells it like it is and she doesn’t stress much about our child’s development. I trust she would if there was a reason to stress, but she suits us well. And, she caught me in that moment.
She caught me thinking my daughter “should” be a certain way that she was not being. For the self-aware person, if you want to quickly see how one easily projects ideas and expectations onto the behavior of another, look no further than child rearing. Fortunately, I can catch myself in these moments – most of the time, because hey…I’m not perfect – and realize my daughter is becoming exactly who she is meant to become without my dictation. Sure, maybe she’ll do and say some things like me or her dad or her siblings, and some of that does come from the nurture side of the nature/nurture equation. But, I’m inclined to believe that these little humans show up with some things, perhaps even many things, that are just who they are.
More recently, she was working on her rolling skills – back to tummy, that is – and our older children were cheering her on. The youngest of the older sibs, said, “We believe in you!” as she kept struggling to turn over. I realized he said this because it’s something that I often say to her when she’s learning a new skill.
I wish that we could all view people with this more tender approach. In fact, it’s how I show up to my clients. If we could just accept that people are becoming who they are intended to become at the evolutionary rate they are intended to become it, and if we could just believe in them a little more, the world might be a gentler and easier place some days.