“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their children than the unlived life of the parent.” – Carl Jung
I’ve just started reading Sally Field’s memoir; I don’t know what I had been expecting but it’s raw and honest. It seems like she’s a woman who knows herself, but has a lot of pent-up thoughts and feelings over the past 70 years of her existence. And only now that family and loved ones have passed away can she speak her truth. Which is sad but also, I would venture to say, fairly accurate for many people. The above quote is mentioned towards the beginning of her book and I had never heard it before. It definitely struck a chord with me and I keep finding myself going back to think about that one very powerful sentence. It’s one of those statements that can have an ever-evolving meaning for a person. If I had heard it at 20 it would have meant something different at 27 and definitely again at 34.
In this season of life, this is what it means to me:
We’ve written in the past about wondering if portions of this experience are wasted on our kids because they’re still so young. Without diving back into that topic we seem decided that, at the end of the day, we have no regrets and we would make this decision again without a second thought.
But in what ways are these experiences shaping Stephen and myself so we can be better people and hopefully better parents? How invaluable is that for our kids, long after this time of travel and adventure is over?
We’re far from perfect and we may not have always made the right decisions in the past, but each one helped bring us to this place we are now. We hope our kids can really “see” us when they’re older. When asked to describe their parents as adults that they might say we are people who weren’t scared to take giant leaps of faith, pursued their passions, colored outside the lines often and that we loved and lived fiercely. Not some shrugged shoulders and a heavy-hearted “we know Mom or Dad really wanted to accomplish this, travel here, experience that but life seemed to get in the way.”
Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean things have to slow down or look a certain way. We want it to be just the opposite; expending the effort to make our lives richer and fuller in the areas that matter, so that as our kids grow they feel confident that they can go out and do anything they want.