From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of E. Way, author of “Coming Out of Cage.”
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When I served on the local school board, I met parents of all kinds. Usually the kinds that frequented
school board meetings tended to be aggressive, demanding, self-righteous and pushy! I always felt sorry for their kids for having such Tiger Parents, until I realized that I was just like them!
I don’t think I would have ever come to see myself as a Tiger Mom had my children been always submissive and compliant. It was not until my daughter developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) soon after she got into college that I was compelled to face the problem about my parenting style. It was very difficult to see how I hurt my children when all I wanted was for them to be successful and happy in life.
Even though I agonized with denial, shame, guilt, anger and frustrations as I was going through the self-reflection and self-confrontation process at the time, I am thankful for the trial, because not only has it helped me come out of my own cage of fear, shame, insecurity and pride to develop a truly loving and healthy relationship with my children, it has also empowered me to support other parents in improving their relationships with their children. For this reason, I decided to write the book, Coming Out of Cage – Journey of a Tiger Mom.
The message in my book is actually very simple:
Yes, we want to love our children and help them attain happiness and success in life; but in order to do that, we need to be healthy as a person first so that we could love our children authentically and unconditionally. It is like putting oxygen masks on ourselves first before helping our children with this emergency medical equipment.
We need to make sure that we are healthy so that our love for our children would not be toxic to them. The following questions may help us see if our love is healthy:
- Do we love our children so that they will be “happy” and “successful”?
- Do we love our children when or if they are “happy” and “successful”?
- Is our love for our children conditioned upon their performances?
- Are we serving our children’s best interests or our own interests?
- Do we even love ourselves?
- Are there any unresolved issues in our past that keep us from loving ourselves?
- How can we love our children if we do not even love ourselves?
- How can we be freed from our past unresolved issues to love our children in a healthy and constructive way?
If to be healthy requires us to resolve our own past issues (i.e. hurts, pain, anger, abuses, addictions, brokenness, injustice, failures, fears, wrongdoings, rejections, abandonment, neglect…), then how do we do that?
- First, admit and accept the fact that we have unresolved issues to work out, and
- Turn ourselves to God who loves, forgives and heals through His Word and Spirit.
- Surround ourselves with people who are wise, safe and willing to hold us accountable.
So, does it mean that once we become healthy as parents, our children will be happy and successful?
Well, just because we put on our own oxygen masks and help our children put on theirs, does not mean safety is guaranteed; but, the chances of survival is certainly much higher!
As a mother who is still slowly un-tigering herself, I am learning more and more about trusting in the Lord and enjoying my now adult children as they set their own goals, make their own choices, go at their own pace, and yes, even as they face their own struggles and take lessons from their own mistakes!
For parents who still have young children at home, I hope you will find my book helpful. Look at your children for who they are, not what they do or should do. Don’t treat them as extensions of yourselves or as fulfillment of your dreams, because you should try to do that for yourselves if that is what you want in life.
WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.