It’s our job to love them. It’s their job to BE themselves.
– KEYS SOULCARE
It’s a beautiful thing to watch a child flourish through self-expression. As a parent, it’s about nurturing not only their physical selves, but also their spiritual wellbeing — and empowering them to thrive through a life full of ups, down, and inevitable judgements.
We’re so inspired by the following quotes — from moms, thinkers, and writers — who have stepped up and spoken out to remind us that acceptance is often the best tool for leading our kids to greatness. Instead, it’s important to lead our kids as they explore who they are, no matter what.
1. “Children do not need us to shape them. They need us to respond to who they are.”
Naomi Aldort is the author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. Her mantra resonates now more than ever, as we recognize the need to amplify the voices of the LGBTQ+ community, starting in our own homes. It’s a gentle reminder that as parents, we need to keep our ears and our hearts open.
2. “[She was born] to be her most authentic self. She doesn’t ask permission to exist. That is wildly inspiring.”
Gabrielle Union’s revelation to Time on raising transgender daughter, Zaya, is equal parts thought-provoking and tender. Rather than guiding Zaya, Gabrielle and husband Dwyane Wade let her take the lead — and take accountability for educating themselves on allyship along the way.
3. “Sometimes your children will be on a path that you have no reference point for, yet still you need to rise to the occasion and join them on that path.”
From an early age, Jodie Patterson’s child, Penelope, self-identified as a boy. In an interview with Mother magazine, Jodie recounted how she not only rose to the challenge, but how she also went above and beyond by becoming an advocate for all transgender children. Her allyship runs the gamut from convos within her home and community to current work as chair of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board.
4. “When you parent, it’s crucial you realize you aren’t raising a ‘mini me,’ but a spirit throbbing with its own signature. For this reason, it’s important to separate who you are from who each of your children is. Children aren’t ours to possess or own in any way. When we know this in the depths of our soul, we tailor our raising of them to their needs, rather than molding them to fit our needs.”
Perhaps the hardest thing to do as a parent is to let go of our own expectations of what our children should be. (How many of us have experienced this very thing in reverse when we were growing up?) Author and clinical psychologist Dr. Shefali Tsabary urges us to be mindful and break the cycle, so we can let their little spirits soar.
How can you further honor the young people in your lives — and your younger, inner self — with the recognition, love, and respect we all need?