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I picked up my kids yesterday and could immediately tell something was off with my youngest. It was obvious he was bothered by something, but wasn’t forthcoming with anything. I let it go and gave him space but just before we got home, I heard him crying.

I asked him about it and encouraged him to talk and after some time he finally let it pour out. Apparently, when they were out for dinner, he had been teased by other people at the table. He was teased about a topic that is already particularly sensitive for him and he was feeling hurt by it all.

As his sobs continued, my heart broke a little for him.

So many emotions flooded through me. I felt empathy, sadness, a little angry and annoyed. My first thoughts were wanting to comfort my son, to make the hurt go away and help remind him what a beautiful person he is and that he doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. My next thoughts were that I needed to talk to those involved, let them know the impact of their actions and encourage them to not do it again in the future.

But then I realized, doing that would be a huge disservice to my son.

As a mother, I hate witnessing my child feeling hurt. There is an innate feeling for most of us parents to shield our children from pain and hurt. But, I can’t protect him from being hurt…and do I really want to anyway? There have been many times in my life where it’s felt painful in the moment, but it’s brought about the most amazing gifts and become an impetus for me to grow and change. Would I want to take that away from my child?

I realized, if I went to those people it would be me trying to get them to change. I would essentially be teaching my son the very things I am working so hard to turn around in my own life. We cannot ever change anyone else and if we are feeling hurt about something, it’s an opportunity to look inside. We can only ever change what we feel and what we do and looking to others to change so we feel better could set my son up for a lifetime of feeling powerless, it may hold him back and possibly set him on a path of unhappiness and discontent.

So, I proceeded in the way I’m learning to live myself. I showed him great empathy and expressed how much he is loved and supported. I helped my son know that he can’t change what others say or do, but he can change himself. He can also choose to learn from situations like these and make different choices for himself, both now and in the future. I explained that it was his job to just keep feeling the best he can about himself and keep being the person he knows he is deep down inside.

I also helped him see a different perspective of the situation. I could see how the people there were likely just doing what they know, how I was very sure they would never have done that if they thought they would hurt him, and how I would guess they thought they were actually trying to connect with him, thinking they were playing with him in some way, not hurting him. I helped him know he can change the way he looks at the situation so he can feel better about it and perhaps even look at it as an opportunity to learn more and grow.

One can never know how these lessons will end up, but as a parent, I feel I good about how I processed that experience last night. It ended up being an important lesson for both me and him and another opportunity for us to learn and grow.


I’ve come to realize just how little we really know about ourselves.  We talk to strangers and consult books to inform us what is best for our own unique bodies.  We ask others what they are doing to help us make a decision for ourselves.  We seem to be going outside of ourselves for answers to things that really, we should know about ourselves.

In our infinite learning lifestyle, I give my children a lot of space to really get to know who they are and what they are all about as individuals.  I encourage them to ask questions about anything, to create anything they feel compelled to create, to listen to their inner voice and feelings and to know their own bodies.  I encourage them to tell me what they feel is best for them.

This idea is radical indeed.  I can assure you it’s not always been easy for me to let them have so much free reign and trust that it would be okay.  There was a time when I felt I needed, as their parent, to regulate things like television.  But, as I continued my own journey, I realized I was not encouraging them to know what was best for them and teaching them to rely on someone else (me) for their guidance.

When I did feel brave enough to let go, I was amazed.  Yes, there have been times when they’ve done little else but watch television for three days in a row.  But, somewhere, on that third day (or whatever day) they turn it off themselves, they ask to play outside, they suddenly create an extremely inventive, detailed and interactive game with each other. But, they are learning to listen to themselves, learning to self-regulate and learning what they really want for themselves and their lives.

I am not just allowing them total run of things without boundaries or guidance. I am there, suggesting things, expressing my point of view, sharing my own experiences and knowledge. But after our discussions, I honour the choices they are making.

I have been pleased with how well they do with this kind of guidance. I remember when my son was younger and wanted to watch certain shows. I would express my point of view about their violence or my feeling of them being inappropriate for his age and watched as he admitted it probably wasn’t best for him and turned it off.

It is tough sometimes for me to let them take control of their lives, especially when they choose something I wouldn’t necessarily choose. I do believe though, that allowing them the understanding, self-awareness and room to learn, that when it comes time to make more and more difficult decisions, they will be making them from a better place than those who have relied on decisions from others. I feel it is important for me as their parent, to be there to guide them, help them navigate through things and honour themselves above all else.

Indeed, this thing called infinite learning, is a perfect way to explain what is happening for me…as I continue to keep learning more and more about myself, my children and life.