I hired these 2 cute guys to model for my blog to demonstrate how we have to leave the people we love alone. They might be related to me.
I was talking to one of our six (help!) kids. Tom, third one in line, has just graduated college. Just broken up with his girlfriend. Unsure what to do next. At first I was full of suggestions. Places to go, people to see. I was about to launch into my “Why don’t you try…?” speech. And then I realized that sometimes the best thing you can do for someone you love is leave them alone.
This doesn’t mean not caring for someone you love. It means backing off and letting them figure things out on their own.
I realized in this stage of my life that the only life I’m an expert on is mine. I’ve spent the past two decades serving as my kids’ coach, fan, guide, booster, disciplinarian, boundary-setter and role model. (For what to do and what not to do.) Now it’s my time to back off and let them make their own decisions. And their own mistakes.
I know I want to help my kids avoid mistakes that I’ve made. I want them to learn from my experiences – but that’s impossible. They have to learn from their own experiences. And I have to sit with my own discomfort of watching them struggle and sometimes stumble. By leaving them alone, I am loving them in the truest sense of the word.
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Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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