Being Content: Teaching Our Kids That They Have Everything They Need

Mama Wolfe

Be content with
what you have;

rejoice in the
way things are.

When you realize
there is
nothing lacking,

the whole world
belongs to you.

~ Lao Tsu

I shared this quote with my daughter the other day. I emailed it to her; I probably should have tweeted or Facebooked or created some clever meme that would catch her attention. Email feels hopelessly old school with teens in 2013. I really hope she read it; she hasn’t mentioned it to me. I dream of nothing more than that, in the midst of her junior year of high school and college preparation, she realizes that she has everything she needs to become whatever she wants to be.

Like most parents, I hate seeing my children fail. For my kids, failure doesn’t necessarily mean ‘F’ grades in school; I’m lucky that for them, success in school is a high priority and they do pretty well. I guess that comes partly from having teachers as parents.

The kind of failure that makes my heart pound and my stomach ache is the failure of seeing their dreams come true. I want their lives to be smooth, happy, and full of only the best parts of life. I want them to dodge the pain that I’ve experienced, and come out on top of their dreams.

I know, I know-that’s not the way it works. Life isn’t a Disney movie, the good guy doesn’t always win, and sometimes, actually, life has a way of throwing us curveballs. Strike outs.

And fortunately, the occasional homeruns.

Watching my children struggle in life feels like the air is sucking  from my lungs. I feel paralyzed, unsure when to rush in and scoop them up, or just let them be. When they look me in the eyes, tears often slipping down their face, I struggle for the words to explain why. How do I explain the loss, the defeat, the disappointment that what they desire isn’t going to happen? How do I explain that sometimes we can’t explain all the events in life, and that we may never know why things happen the way they do? I try to show them the upside, to teach them that it’s not just the winners that the crowd cheers for, but for those that are graceful in defeat.

I go back to Lao Tsu’s quote, and find the answer. I need to rejoice in the way things are with my children, knowing that there is an answer to their struggles. I need to show them that they are not lacking, and that life has a way of working things out. It may not be this year or the next, but that if they release the pain and disappointment into the Universe and take it as part of the bigger experience of life, they can move forward and find contentment.

And then I will be one happy mom.

ABOUT JENNIFER: When not teaching or mothering her tween and teen, Jennifer Wolfe enjoys writing, blogging, volunteering, traveling, skiing and reading. A native Californian, she enjoys the beach as well as the mountains for relaxation.


This piece was written by Jennifer Wolfe of WolfeMama exclusively for Bonbon Break Media, LLC