My son teaches me every day about claiming voice. When I can’t Claim My Voice in a healthy way, I don’t allow him to have his. I would rather work things out with him so neither one of us feels powerless. I strive to set boundaries and limits in a way that fosters connection rather than resentment.
I fail over and over again. I do a lot of work around forgiving myself for the mistakes I’ve made.
I also succeed.
Having my intention clear helps me stay the course and apologize when I fall short. Sometimes my son and I Claim Our Voices when we debrief about a conflict or power struggle gone awry. When we’re both calmer, I can hear him say what he felt was hard or unfair and learn something about myself and the process. I can then guide us to find a solution that feels more cooperative and respectful.
It’s one of the hardest dances on this journey of embodying Power-with and Heart-centered communication.
When my son was born, we read this poem when we introduced him to extended family and friends. I’ve been keeping it in my mind and heart ever since:
On Children: Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.