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"To feel what another feels by walking in their shoes"

With 23 years between my two children, I entered a different world in 1995 when my second child was born, of the demands and responsibilities put upon children from their own parents. Back in 1971, the over-achiever parenting style was unknown by me.  However, as a new old-schooled mom, I was unfamiliar and terribly confused with the aggressive parenting style that I continued to offer my second child similar choices as my first, which initially came from my mother’s devout teachings "to feel what another feels by walking in the other's shoes." To this day, I’m pleased with the results by putting her advice into action.  

These challenges of decision-making surfaced the strongest after I was a single parent back in 1976, since I was overwhelmed by the demands of working-outside-the-home and shouldering all the responsibilities of raising my first child alone. The commitments were such a strain for me, and thankfully; I recalled my mother's wisdom and imagined how stressing it may also feel for my five-year-old daughter, trying to be everything for everyone! Even more so, my mother’s advice to "feel what another feels by walking in the other's shoes" is ingenious to me, and remains the infallible truth of God, regardless of the new-generation style of parenting.

 

One example of my mother’s wisdom: When my first husband was critically ill and in the hospital.  I was spending endless days and nights by his side, while my daughter stayed with my mother. Every night, I’d come home after my daughter had fallen asleep just minutes earlier. I was already feeling guilty for leaving the hospital, and now I had to deal with my mom’s remarks that I didn’t get home soon enough to tuck my daughter into bed another night! My missing to tuck her in went on for days and weeks, on end, because I wasn’t leaving the hospital a half-hour earlier. Heartbroken, I wondered why mom didn’t realize that I didn’t have a choice. While all along, she could only hear my daughter crying, “Mom-mom, when are mommy and daddy ever coming home?”  My mother went on to explain to me that she’s only a five-year-old and doesn’t understand the difference, whether you are in the hospital taking care of her seriously ill father, or working, or even out shopping!  At the time, I felt my mother was insensitive to the situation I was in. I’ve since realized that she was right, having learnt that young children feel even more emotional pain and emptiness from one or both parent's absences, regardless of the reasons we’re not there! In truth, she was really living through the larger picture, by having put herself in all our places.  She felt the brokenness of a son-in-law, a daughter, and a five-year-old granddaughter being so vulnerable in her early, formative years. 

 

Sharing her foresight has been my passion, since I’ve seen the tear when this is not considered and continues to exist, regardless of it coming from parents over-working, or a mission of tending to the sick, or higher demands a parent has that take them away from their little ones. What I believe we’re missing is not listening to our important guidance, by busying ourselves with what society supposes to be of value. Perhaps, my experience of over-load and the pressure to keep-up is partly what brought me to this conclusion of not going along with the flow of modern suggestions.  Although, I believe it was my mother’s words of wisdom that she instilled in me that I finally established a healthier balance.

 

What's even more is, through my research, most of the stories that I’ve heard from parents who suggested the new high achievement method to their children; the parent themselves had a loving support system in touch with their feelings and holding their back. That I wonder if parents examined their own lives when they were a child, and recalled who was there for them; then ask themselves if their own children "have" as much support as they had as a child.  My question here is a compassionate one for our children and parents, “What more can we do for our children to keep the softness around them?" My wise mother said, “When we become a new mother, we no longer only think for one; we have to think for someone else. We have to imagine being in their heart and walking in their shoes to hear what they are saying."  I’ve learned her words are sound and true. It’s the best advice and a solution from the beginning, which otherwise could be an oversight. It’s being in their presence and taking action the way God does.

 

My mother's valuable advice has shown me the way to make softer choices for my children, and continues to be the most powerful guide that works miracles with 'all' my relationships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments
8 Comment count
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Keeping softness around our children...

Good advice for how we deal with children and with anyone else.  Sometimes it is hard not to be hard--but usually softness is better if we can manage it.

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Softness

 

 

 

Hi Sue,

"Keeping softness around children..."

How we deal with children usually has the same impact on all our relationship's hereafter. I've read somewhere, "If we can lift the spirits of a screaming child and an angry old person, we're more likely to get along with all our relationships between." I can't remember where I heard that, but I'd imagine it means through keeping our temper saturated  with softness.

Thanks so much for taking time to read me, Sue! Give my best to Katherine and the family. I'm enjoying your wonderful book. I love it! It's so interesting to me, and incredibly amazing how you did it! You are courageous, strong, and full of love.

With love & prayers,

Catherine

xo

 

 

 

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This is nice sharing Cathy.

This is nice sharing Cathy. And I see the truth in your mother's advice. Compassion,a great virtue for human-being can be feel only by walking in others shoes,I like to add.

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Walking in others shoes

Yes, Jitu! Compassion....that's what I wanted to convey here, too. 

Thank you for stopping by and reading me. I loved your new post on Facebook. I was thrilled to share it! 

Love

Catherine

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Beautiful, poignant post,

Beautiful, poignant post, Catherine.  I spent my early childhood with my grandmother, since my mother – a single parent – had to work long hours, and I know first-hand the effect of missing your mother.

I don't know if you saw my latest post but, coincidentally, I mention putting oneself in other people's shoes, too.

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The Backstory as Defence Lawyer

 

 

 

Hi Katherine,

Thank you so much for reading me, and leaving lovely comments that are filled with encouragement. I have read your brilliant post since I am on your Scribe Doll mailing list. I lavished every word that you said. In fact, at one time, I wished that I could be so creative to write my own story as fiction.  Red Room and professional teachers and educators like you, Katherine, are my teachers whom I know, and the only writing source that I have any knowledge to respond to your incredible post. Which I was no where in place, since I noticed all the comments have similar backgrounds in either writing groups, or classes. 

I actually put myself in your place, after reading your magnificent post, and I found a phenomenal well-read professor of high degree in education and creative writing, not to mention, beauty that goes with it, teaching me.  For this, I thank you with all my heart for sharing with me.

The Backstory as Defence Lawyer, is so insightful and luminous!  I'm  grateful that you gave me an opening to respond. :-) 

Love,

Catherine

xo 

 

 

 

 

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Sounds to me like you did a

Sounds to me like you did a great job, Catherine. Being a parent is the toughest job you'll ever have. I raised my four as a single parent and all I knew was to give them lots of love and affection and remember that you are also responsible for developing their character and integrity. Ultimately, when you see how they turned out you know whether you did a good job or not. Thanks for sharing your story.

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Firm teaching

Hi Margie,

I owe it all to my mother's firm teaching. She saw when one of her children (you know who)  was going down a wrong path, and like a shepherd, she guided her sheep towards the right path. I'm grateful that I had a little sense to listen and recall her words, which I believe without a shadow of a doubt saved me and my children. 

You're right, motherhood is the toughest job, with the highest rewards. My son will be leaving for college this August. At 64 years old, it'll be an empty nest for me, with hope and prayer for another new door to open. :-)

Thank you for your loving and encouraging comments! I truly appreciate them.

Love,

Catherine

xo