“Mom! Stop telling me what to do!”
Apparently my full grown 33 year old daughter was getting a little tired of my “suggestions.” She must have been holding it in for awhile because it came out as an angry burst over the phone as I was trying to “suggest” that she wouldn’t be able to fit her existing dining room table into her new place.
I’m not telling you what to do… I’m just trying to be helpful was my hurt reply. As I hung up the phone, my first instinct was to withdraw and pout. But as I thought about it in a broader perspective, I asked myself the question.
Can we help too much? Is it helpful when we are assuming that people “need” our help. I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately. I think about it with my own grown children and also with my students. As a special education teacher, I’m constantly offering my “help” and assuming that they “need” me to be able to learn. Do they? Shouldn’t I be stepping back? Shouldn’t I be empowering my students? daughters? versus enabling them?
Wouldn’t it be better if I just asked questions and help them to discover their own tools and coping skills. Wouldn’t it be better if I listened and supported them?
My daughter and granddaughters just moved back into the town that I live in and I’ve been sooooo so excited. But, it’s been tricky finding the boundaries of “helping” and stepping back. It’s caused me to reflect on the ways that I can be a better grandmother, mother and teacher.
By the way…. that table fit just fine in the new dining room as my daughter hosted and had 12 people seated around it this past Thanksgiving, I felt thankful.