There was no one, particular event that put the line “I will try to fix you” into my head, but once it arrived a couple of weeks ago, it stayed and has danced around ever since. Therefore, I will blog.
I’ve been thinking about how much of what I say and do is motivated by the ‘fix you’ intention. I’m not alone either. When I take a step back from the interactions I have with others, those close to me and those that are new to me, there is an element of us all trying to “fix” each other. If you look at the news, it’s filled with examples of people going out of their way and in fact to extraordinary lengths to “fix” others.
Listening to Chris Martin’s words (and after Googling ‘chris martin explains fix you’), it’s clear that the song is a declaration of commitment to someone he loves. He’s saying he understands their hurt, that he’s there for them and will help them through a hard time. The motivation is care and love, his intention is to encourage and heal. And that’s what has interested me about the subject, it’s the motivation of wanting to fix someone that can make it so wonderful, or so terrible.
Tears stream down your face, when you lose something you can’t replace.
From the day they were born, every tear that has fallen out of my children’s eyes has triggered a profound need in me to fix them; rock to sleep, heal the hurt, feed the hunger. It comes naturally but it’s also part of my role as their mum. If I wasn’t there to help fix the breakages in my children’s lives then their lives would be the poorer for it.
However what I am excruciatingly aware of is my potential to be the cause of hurts and pains for my children. Even though my motivations are love and a desire to see my children enjoy happy lives, I am coming from my own broken perspective. With parenting you are learning on the job so you’re just not going to get it right first time.
I promise you, I will learn from my mistakes.
As their first guides to life, we are always trying to show them the way. We correct and teach them. For things like how to speak, eat and walk I felt really confident in my ability to teach them in the way they should go. However as they get older, things aren’t so simple to teach. How do you manage disagreements with others? How do you react to someone who is living by rules that are different to the ones you live by at home? What do you say to your teacher when they say something different about who God is to what your parents and your church say he is? Is it OK that you like Taylor Swift when your mum thinks she’s 100% over-rated?
All these things are difficult to teach and I am making mistakes along the way. My imperfections are continually under observation and my children are old enough to evaluate them. My PMT makes me the worst mother in the world one day in 35. And even on days when my hormone levels are normal, I get to bedtime feeling total despair at all my shortfalls of the day. My parenting is motivated by the best of intentions, but my imperfections mean I hurt and I break. All I can do is commit to learn from my mistakes and keep going.
When you love someone, but it goes to waste, could it be worse?
It doesn’t happen much yet but I know as they get older and my influence is crowded out by teachers, friends, bosses, superstars and villains in their lives, the things I do for them to help them and encourage them will bounce back or be missed. How am I going to handle that?
I try to remember how my parents reacted when I didn’t go about my life the way they wanted me to. I’m actually struggling to think of a time when my parents went heavy on me to do something I didn’t want to. I never felt weighed down by expectations from them. I loved and respected them and by the time I was a teenager I wanted to make them proud. They didn’t tell me what I had to do or be to make them proud, I think I knew that if I just did my best they would be proud. What I did my best at, that was up to me. Was it just that my parents were fortunate and had a good child, born with a healthy respect of authority and value in a fair society ? Or did they train that into me? Probably the latter, although I don’t think they could tell me how they did it or show me their parenting plan. Point is, I never felt like they were trying to fix me or make me into something they wanted me to be, and yet I think I have for the most part, become someone they like and are proud of.
How can I do that for my children? How can I parent them so they are secure enough to be who they want to be, but influence them enough that who they are is someone I like and am proud to be related to? I don’t have the answer, but I imagine it will be finding the delicate balance of firm convictions and an open mind.
Lights will guide you home.
Maybe what we should aim for, is to bring up people that love and can be loved, respect and are respected, challenge and are open to being challenged. And alongside that we give children a home that is a place where they always feel accepted and loved. Somewhere, that no matter what is going on around them, there is a place they feel safe. Because doesn’t our worst behaviour come from a place of fear? When we hurt someone, close ourselves off from another’s point of view, push people away or live for our own needs and wants, don’t we do that from a place of fear or brokenness in our own life?
When you’re too in-love to let it go. But if you never try, you’ll never know, just what you’re worth.
Learning history and reading the news, it becomes clear that we all need to let go sometimes. When we’re so in-love with our views and beliefs that we don’t have room in our hearts for others or we can’t give others room to be who they are, then we miss out on what we could be.
We could be a young singer that returns and gifts an unforgettable concert to help people face their fears, or we could be a religious leader that protects someone who tried to harm his flock. We could choose love in the face of hate. We could choose to share instead of grab. We could seek to understand rather than assume. Hey we could even NOT use Facebook to vent all our single minded, spiteful and yet oh so witty insults at people who don’t vote the same way as us.
I will try to fix you.
What I want my children to learn as they grow up with me, is that to fix another is to stand by them and accept them as they work out who they are, NOT to enforce regimes and agendas that squash people who aren’t like us.
Love conquers all.