Photo by Tanya Hoover
To my children: you are enough. You are enough exactly the way you are. I don’t care that you’re not perfect. Wait. Let me say that a different way. I know that no human being is perfect so I have no expectation of perfection. Every human has strengths and every human has ways we struggle, especially under stress. Your strengths are enough. The ways that you struggle are okay, too. You are enough.
I have heard it said that expressing delight in our children teaches them that they are enough. That is so simple and so profound. It is also very true. When we enjoy them, giggle with them, really engage in play with them (without thinking about our list of things to do), watch them do that new move on the monkey bars…we express delight in them. We show them that we delight in who they are, just because they are (not in what they accomplish).
I find the Enneagram to be a powerful tool. It describes 9 main personality types, and highlights strengths of each type, as well as typical ways each type reacts under stress. It also highlights goals for growth for each type. There is no intention with the Enneagram to place anybody in a box. The idea is to learn about ourselves, to do our own inner work, to understand ourselves better and to grow. To do our own inner work and to grow spiritually.
One of the big take-aways for me about the Enneagram is a deep reminder that each person has strengths and each person has places they get caught, or get off track or struggle. It gives me compassion for the things I see people struggle with. I’ve got my things. So does everybody else. And it’s okay. And also, I will continue to do my own inner work so that I can become more grounded in who I am and less swayed by the stress around. So that I can be the bigger, stronger, wiser and kind mom that I want to be.
And I will compassionately guide my children to learn about themselves and to grow. It may seem contradictory to hear me say in the space of a couple of paragraphs that my children are enough exactly the way they are, and also, I will guide them to grow. I don’t see it as contradictory at all.
Here’s the thing. The ways my kids struggle, each in their own way, are not faults. There is nothing wrong with them. It is just parts of who they are. And they are little. So I will not treat those things as faults. I will not treat my 7-year-old son as though having a build up of anger is something wrong. I will not teach my 3-year-old daughter that getting distracted easily means something is wrong. I will have compassion for them in the moments when the things that are hard for them emerge. I will know it is part of them, with positive parts, too. My son is full of an amazing amount of energy. His energy and focus and desire for justice are strong, and a build up of anger is sometimes a by-product that needs to be worked with, channeled, understood, and taught a healthy release. My daughter is vibrant, ready to giggle at any moment, always ready for adventure and generally pretty flexible. Being distractable is a by-product of that adventurous spirit: it’s like she’s thinking, “Sit for a full meal? No way! I might miss something!” This, too, is something that will need to be understood and worked with so that she can balance her needs with getting tasks done.
And so I have compassion. I know that everybody has some way they struggle, and if it wasn’t this way, it would be another way. And I have full faith that they will keep growing, and that we will figure it out, step by step, all along the way. And I’ll be there. Still telling them that they are enough. Because they are. My two, absolutely incredible (and tiring!) kids.
“So curl up, curl up now and sleep. All you have to do is grow. You’ve already made our lives complete.” –Welcome Song for Baby by Richard VanCamp
If you want to learn a little more about the Enneagram, here is the link to their website: