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In previous posts (letting go and letting be {January 11, 2012} learning to fly {January 12, 2012}) I wrote about letting young adults develop and grow into their adulthood and our role as parents in supporting this to happen. The role of patience and stillness in providing a base for this process and our ability to step back and provide guidance and support as they “learn to fly” were areas I touched on. Trusting that the process will naturally develop is part of the stepping back. Recognizing that the very act of learning to fly is a process that requires the full participation of the individual and that the individual must complete this process on their own is also part of this puzzle.  Learning to fly is the solo act while flying is not.

A society built upon interdependence that values relationship and fosters belonging is one that has greater potential to survive and to do great things. Therefore in supporting our children and young adults to find their place in our society we would also want to see them move in a direction which would also consider these values. Again modelling these values is our best bet.

Determination of life purpose and goals is difficult today. There are many choices and options at the same time as there is immense pressure to make choices that have an economic benefit. Finding a path that will end with a “good paying” job is often the only criteria that is used. The action of examining and scrutinizing the options from the perspective of what fits with an individual’s character and temperament is not always completed and this I believe sets many individuals on a path that in the long run will not hold their attention or be good for their soul. My belief is that the path that is chosen must have an internal tether so to speak, a solid base within the operating system of the person so that it can take hold and be the guiding force along the chosen path.

This is where patience comes back into the theory. This where our role as parents and as individuals is once again tested.

The Zen saying that comes to me for many situations and considerations and seems appropriate here is: “muddy water, let sit, becomes clear”.

Giving children and young adults the time to let the water sit and become clear is the test of patience for them and for others who care deeply about their welfare. We always seem to be stirring the pot, sometimes just as the water is becoming clear. Decisions and choices are often driven by western society’s need to do things quickly, instantly, to be productive, to pay sole attention to the mighty dollar, to seek power and status rather than seeking out a fitting life purpose. The impatience is fuelled by our expectations that the answers come from outside ourselves and our impatience for the quick and easy answer, the “quick fix”. Trying to provide the answers to quell the impatience only continues to muddy the water.

I wonder what changes we may see if we were to let the water sit and become clear? What choices would we make? What paths would people including our children follow? What would happen if we took the time to let the water become clear?

Difficult I know, but worth a try.


Irene McDermott © 2012