As a parent, watching my daughter grow every day is truly a spectacular scene. Growth has been defined as the process of developing or maturing physically, mentally, or spiritually. As a child, I knew everything, it’s true. It’s funny to look back now and think how much growing was still to come. As parent’s, we have all heard our children remark on what their life will be like when they become an adult. “Just wait until I get older, I’m going to eat pizza for dinner every night!” or “when I get older I’m going to stay up as late as I want.”
After high school, some believe your time for learning is complete. “Get out there and get a job” is what my Grandparents were told. That’s it! 18 and you are legally an adult, at the height of your existence. No more mistakes, learning or taking over your parent’s basement. Others may believe that at the age of 21 you should have all the tools in place to achieve your full potential.
When I hear this perspective, I have to smile to myself and realize what growth really is; a life long journey of learning from our experiences and relationships.
In adulthood, or as the kids say these days #adulting, growth comes from learning new ways of being, thinking and seeing ourselves. We can stay static or we can stay on our own path and not challenge ourselves with anything new. Never trying your favorite pizza, or experiencing the thrill of your favorite roller coaster would leave a blank canvas when reflecting on your life. My biggest fear is having regret. Regret of never experiencing life’s greatest gifts or adventures. Recently, I watched a viral video and it was about taking risks and being vulnerable to make mistakes. The only true mistake in life in not taking that leap. The video interview many people in the 80’s and 90’s and their only regret in life was not taking more risk. They regretted not taking that trip to an African Safari or starting their own company.
Each day is a new opportunity, a new challenge, a new occasion to learn. To grow. Provide yourself the allowance to be vulnerable, to take a risk, to fail, to try again, to learn and continue to grow. Some people may resist, but we all are growing a little bit each day. This is the process we all go through, but may feel embarrassed or burden to discuss with others. Nobody is born with the experience, knowledge or information that is gained throughout their lifetime. Parents, children, teachers, students, friends and enemies all help us develop these skills. The greatest growth comes from those relationships that come in and out of your life.
Growing into Adulthood
The powerful truth about growth in adults is it’s much harder than the growth experienced during childhood. Children have the benefit from a plan that was mapped out for us by our own guide. Good or bad, there is a blueprint of learning required through 12th grade. In adulthood, there is no defined path. Growth can look anyway we want it to and we don’t always know who can support or guide us through this process. We must challenge ourselves to do something outside of our comfort.
In the moment, the experience of a challenge or difficult moment can seem endless. Like growth is never going to be possible. The sick, crying baby in the middle of the night, potty training, teaching someone to tie their shoes or sitting in traffic. Often in the moment, that moment can seem like forever, but looking back on that moment, how fast they all seem to add up. Be in the moment. Take advantage of each moment with your child. They won’t last forever, but you may end up wishing they would.
The beautiful and simple truth is growth is a lifelong process that takes time. Allow yourself the freedom to grow. Provide your child the opportunity for growth. Forgive yourself.
Be patient with your child and when you can’t be patient, allow yourself a break. Allow others the opportunity for growth. Share your patience, understanding, support and the tools that have helped you grow with others. Search for your child’s perspective. This helps me have patience and turn punishable moments into teachable, growth promoting opportunities. Growth will happen if you just make some room.
Wake up and set your intentions for the day. Personal growth is rooted in our attention to ourselves. Make each day an opportunity to commit to yourself. Maybe your intention is allowing yourself the space to make mistakes, go slow, take a day off. If we treat life like a marathon, then the only rule should be putting one foot in front of the other. Success is accomplished by persistence and the intention to move forward, be it running, walking or crawling.