Monday Notes: Parenting from the Heart (Part II)

Parenting is hard.

You never know if you’re really doing the right thing, until your children are young adults making decisions. To me, that’s where part of the proof is. Here’s how I know.

Today, is my youngest daughter, Desi’s first day of organic farming school. She now lives approximately 900 miles away in another state, so she can complete a two-year organic farming program.

While I believe that all children are born with their own personalities, I also believe that we as parents can either nurture or stunt those natural-born identities with our parenting style.

Desi choosing to be an organic farmer is an example of how Dwight and I nurtured her personality.

We both believe people should do what they want to do if they can live with the consequences. This concept extends to both of our daughters. Although we believe this idea, it hasn’t been easy to put into practice (well, not always for me, anyway).

For example, Desi graduated high school in 2020 with an international baccalaureate (IB) diploma. It’s as prestigious as it sounds. Because of her degree and intelligence, she could have attended any university in the world. But she didn’t want to.

Believe it or not, part of what was hard about parenting her through this was listening to everyone’s judgment associated with allowing our child not to attend college.

Doesn’t she know how important college is?

What I said: Of course, I have three degrees and Dwight has one. We’re walking examples of “go to college to be successful.”

What is she going to do?

What I said: She’s going to work and figure out what she wants to do.

She’s going to be at your house til she’s thirty.

This came from someone I’d just met. My actual response is too long and inappropriate for this blog.

Judgments withstanding, things have worked out. She took a year to think about her actual interests. She used the internet to research programs. She found an organic farming program: they pay her to attend, they pay for housing, and they will set her up to be a successful organic farmer.

Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

But what happens when success doesn’t come quickly or look like “success?” Dwight and I still nurture with the same belief system, but in a different way.  

Our oldest daughter, Kesi was afforded similar freedoms.* She has the freedom to do what she wants. She was supposed to be a hairstylist but (in my opinion) got distracted. Distractions are okay. And again, children have different personalities. Life hasn’t unfolded the same for her. However, we still maintain Kesi can live how she wants. We would never try to impose what we think she should be doing onto her experience in life. That’s hella arrogant.

Nurturing Kesi looks like having lots of conversation about cause and effect. And the one consistent thing that Dwight and I do, aside from showing how not to live in fear and teaching how to be accountable for your own life is supporting our daughters no matter what they choose to do and no matter what the outcome.

We don’t withhold love, support, or encouragement because their lives don’t look like ours. They both receive the same words of affirmation, quality time, and financial assistance.

I’m pretty sure they both know we value intelligence and education, but they also know we respect whatever it is they want to do, whether that is organic farming or working at Starbucks.


*I hope it doesn’t sound like I think we can give freedoms. People are born free and liberated, but sometimes specific parenting styles can make it seem as if freedom to be who you want is something that children have to earn; and that’s not true.

Parenting from the Heart

93 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Parenting from the Heart (Part II)

  1. I think this is extremely refreshing! Refreshing because I think to some extent schooling is over rated. Don’t get me wrong, college is good for people 100% and I have a ton of respect for people who go that route but there are also other ways of doing things. I’ve had people go to art school to be a photographer and yet their work doesn’t reflect their knowledge at all. I’ve meet people who went to school that couldn’t find a job that allowed them to use their expensive degree, I’ve also meet people who got a great job but couldn’t see their way out of debt. Trade schools are equally acceptable, as is being self taught and learning through experience. I’m so thankful that more parents are avoiding pushing kids to put all their eggs in one basket. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, to all of this! I think we’re moving into a space where parents/adults are more concerned about their children’s wellbeing and less about the so-called prestige or even job one can get from attending college.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Whoaa thanks for sharing. it’s hard to be parents ya? I’m actually still single, but I have interested to read about parenting. Because I will become a mom later. And glad to read this article. It’s so inspiring… supporting our children no matter what they choose to do is a great thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting ❤ Yes, I think that's one important part. Children have to know their parents, at least, have their back, no matter what.

      Like

  3. I totally love supporting anyone to do what they want to do, regardless of age, of their family backgrounds or their families preferences! I think it’s bold to step out and do what we want to.

    These days many people have more than one career! Some people reinvent themselves a few times, each time learning more and using their knowledge and skills in different ways. Bravo for supporting your daughters dreams!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is critical that parents understand their child’s true strengths and long term passions. If that’s not recognized, then the child may struggle in a study area that is counter to their natural strengths…and sometimes that could mean later mental health adjustments .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree. While teaching high school, I watched a highly gifted student be burnt out by graduation and end up working at the cellphone kiosk in the mall. While there’s nothing wrong with that work, I do think his parents didn’t quite know what do do with him and his talents.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not a parent so am spared somewhat from the hopes and caution one feels for kids.

    I am certain my brother-in-law who is an engineering professor and researcher at a major university, wondered about his daughter university geotechnical engineer abandoned this career path after 5 years..and turned to rom-com writing. I think she has well over 8 novels..2 are published by a major publisher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love stories like this! I’m sure he’s confident in her decision now? I worry about those who pursue arts professions that don’t pan out as well. For example, not having a major publisher doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right path, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are right! She’s self publishes her other titles. Her father follows her public rom-com twitter feed and other trivia usually cute lambs bouncing about amongst short commentary on world stuff. He does talk with each of his adult children. My sister is no longer alive.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Kathy, through your many blog posts, I feel like I know you personally. You sound like an amazing person, wife and mom. I love your parenting approach and agree 100%! I always believed that children should have the freedom to develop and grow independently. It pains me when I witness adults in recovery who were forced to live all their lives as “products” instead of “people.”

    “You are good enough” is an affirmation that heals so many.

    I think everything you refer to is called “unconditional love.” That is the only thing I strive to give as a parent (and as a person!). Unfortunately, if your child has mental illness, many times, no amount of unconditional love will cut through it and, in these cases, love does fail, and nothing penetrates the brain’s particular wiring. My son did what he “had” to do, and we spend our lives living the consequences on a daily basis.

    Your daughters, on the other hand, sound like they are free and profoundly beautiful spirits. To read about you and Dwight and your children lightens the gray haze of my day and gives me the faith to get through it. Thank you for sharing you message of love! 🤍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for saying this, Stacy! I honestly feel like many bloggers know me better than people who’ve “known” me my whole life, simply because people like you…actually care to know, so I appreciate this comment.

      I also appreciate the affirmation. At the crux of almost everything is that desire to know that whatever you’re doing is “good enough,” and I don’t think it’s ironic that one of my published essays has that title. It’s been a struggle that permeates everything, including parenting.

      So, thank you again, for even noticing that.

      Finally, YES! That’s all it is, right? Unconditional love is what I’m describing. It doesn’t matter what my children do, Dwight and i are here, period.

      Thank you, too, for the compliment about the girls. I adore them in all their beautiful messiness lol

      Like

  7. I’m impressed,it’s so so Inspiring. I think this is a major issue in the part of the world where I come from, children not been free to choices. Even if they are or finally become free,the support, affirmation, encouragement won’t be there…

    But I appreciate the part you and Dwight took,and how you’ve raised your kids,it will definitely lead to success and fulfilment for your them because success can only be achieved if one is happy, happiness comes when one does what he or she likes doing…and that’s the bedrock of fulfilments..

    Thanks once again I’m inspired 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, Harry! I think this is a lot of children’s experiences…they don’t feel as if they can be themselves or do what they want in life 😦

      With that said, thank you so much for this comment and compliment, too. I hope that is the result ❤

      Like

      1. You are welcome Kegerland 😊,but is it really a feeling? Or that’s what it is..😊

        I won’t generalize anyway but I know,the percentage in my jurisdiction is high..😊

        And Yes, we hope our efforts yields results 😊.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I see what you’re saying. Depending on the culture, it’s a feeling. In other cultures, it’s a way of life and expectation. I do get that part, but ultimately, I do think we all have choices, whether it is presented like that or not, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😁,Yes that’s absolutely true,you are right. We all have choices,I know but hope you know too that our choices depends on lots of external factors to become realities and our culture or society is one those major factors?..😁

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I Love your approach Kathy and following what is right for each of your children. Cookie cutter approaches rarely are what’s best when looking at what’s best for children. I still wish I would have sent my son to a program called leap now which is similar to the gap year in other countries. I also wish I wasn’t so anal retentive having to have the “Best” school and sent them to the local school that was “good enough”.
    Your kids are lucky to have you as their mom! 💖🌈

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing!!.. you are doing fine!… “The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” ( Kahlil Gibran )… 🙂

    Until we meet again….
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There is not much I can add, I also have three degrees, but did it make any difference while I struggled with depression and the feeling of incompatibility with the rest of humanity? I only began to understand the concept of freedom at the beginning of middle age when I let go of everything including relationships, financial security and any kind of goal-orientated ambitions, while my peers struggled with dysfunctional relationships, dissatisfying career choices, cancer, mortgages etc., I discovered that kind of freedom I had been looking for was a life lived without security.
    I brought my children up in similar ways let them be, teach them honesty, cleanliness and how to take responsibility.
    My daughter told me once, ‘dad I know you love me that is all I need.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you, MC! I like what you’ve said about letting them be, teaching honesty, cleanliness, and responsibility. I mean, other than critical thinking, what else is there in this life?

      Like

  11. It’s refreshing to hear how today’s parents like you and hubby are so self-aware to provide that space and support to your children. You respect and treat them as “adult” children as opposed to “eternal” children. 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think you did a great job raising your daughters, not because of what they happen to be doing now, but because you let them figure it out on their own, supported their choices and withheld judgement just because they didn’t do something “your way.” That is HUGE! So many parents (and I’m guilty of this sometimes) try to impose their own set of values on their kids in terms of success, but that doesn’t work. Our job as parents is to let them discover and be who they really are, not who we think they should be!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Ann! That’s what I’m hoping. If they’re able to figure things out (with support), then they can literally do anything. That’s what I want both of them to know. It’s hard not to impose values (and fears) onto our children, but it’s definitely not the way (in my opinion).

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow. This is intriguing to me what D. is doing. What an amazing path for a kid to take, I’m delighted to hear this story. When I was that age, my view of the world was utterly constrained and limited about what I thought was safe to do.wrongly, i felt like I had one shot and I didn’t want to blow it, so I didn’t take any chances. She’s doing something that takes some guts. But yet, it’s something we really need more young people to want to do, frankly. There are some pretty interesting paths she could take from this, even if being a farmer is ultimately not what she were to choose. Does she have dreams she’s shared with you, about where she’d do it? I read your posts on parenting with great interest, Katherin. having a 14 year old getting ready for high school, I feel like we’re heading into super uncharted territory, I do not feel ready for this, at all. some things get easier, for other things the stakes seem to get exponentially higher.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mine, too, Jason!

      Yep, she has a pretty clear vision, but of course, as you and I know, these ideas can either expand or contract, depending on what she learns and experiences throughout the two years.

      We are in unchartered territory. What we learned as “success” is not going to be success or successful anymore, I don’t think. So, we better start feeling our way through this process a little better.

      One thing that helped me is to literally let go of all expectations of what’s “supposed to happen.”

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I just loved this post, Katherin. Watching my childrens’ journeys unfold has been such a joy for me. My oldest son who was diagnosed as a child with High Functioning Autism – ended up choosing psychology as his major in college. He had no idea what he wanted to do and then decided to become a first grade teacher. It amazes me that he is handling unbelievable stress in his job with incredible resilience, and great compassion for those children having melt-downs (as he used to do!).
    My daughter had learning issues and during the pandemic she decided to attend college online to fulfill her career goal of becoming an art therapist. I’m absolutely blown away that she’s decided to take all her struggles and turn them into helping others going through their own. She made Dean’s List her first year (even getting an A in Statistics) – all of this from a child who left high school in her junior year due to stress.
    And my youngest son is pursuing working on film sets as a lighting specialist/grip. He bemoans not being able to support himself in LA, but I am certain he will make it. I love being supportive of him following his dream. He chose not to go to college and I believe he will find his path as he builds life skills doing what he loves.
    Sorry to write so much – but you hit a sweet spot with your words. Kudos to you and Dwight for encouraging your daughters to find and follow their dreams!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s no problem, Judy! I appreciate you sharing about your children. It’s very affirming in that I can clearly see that doing what’s best for our children is the path.

      Thanks also for the kind words at the end ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You’re right. Sometimes parenting style stand between the child’s dream. Asian parenting styles are quite different than the west. But the good thing is that the mindset of giving ‘required’ freedom is getting a boost now.

    Organic Farming is such an interesting and important and is more relevant now than ever before.
    Congratulations to Desi. Such a wise choice she made.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve noticed that Ritish. I’m glad that many parents of different ethnicities are starting to shift to a more child-centered approach. I honestly think it’s a positive direction.

      I agree about the organic farming choice, and thanks for the well wishes ❤

      Like

  16. AMEN!! Absolutely love, appreciate, agree and admire everything you share and say. More difficult than the actual parenting is navigating the judgments and doubts planted by society around, when we choose these open and trusting perspectives. It becomes courage for no reason often. I keep hoping to be a similar parent and so far so good. I loved your note at the end.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww thank you, Pragalbha! People are super judgmental, and I don’t mean to sound as if this doesn’t include me; it does. I just think I’ve gotten better about not having many opinions about what people do with their children as so many people have had something to say about what I do with mine.

      Anywho, yes. I agree. Thanks so much for this comment ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for adding this, Jay-lyn! I thought it was just something we did in the States. Pressuring people to do things they don’t want to do is, in general, not okay. Least of all, making college like some end-all, be-all.

      Like

      1. It was like if you don’t go to school and get a degree you won’t be successful. It turns out that I am really really really good at Customer Service. Reaaallllllly good and I did not learn it at school it is a part of who I am. I regret going that first year as I ended up resenting my mom for awhile and ended up moving out of her house. She and my brother went away and I found apartment and moved.
        We are super close now but I was angry about that for a bit. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Totally agreed, children should make their own choices that way consequences are all theirs. My last son is a college athlete but he also gets very good grades. When he was applying to college he was recruited by 3 Ivy League colleges but he chose none. His dad and I simply accepted his choice and wished him well.

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  18. I almost stopped at the first sentence. Parenting is hard. Too heavy for me today. BUT — I so agree with you. We should allow our kids to grow and make their own decisions. And the reality is–Desi may be an organic farmer today, a PhD in agriculture tomorrow. Kesi may develop her own line of products or become a chemist. Who knows? We don’t. This is where your daughters are at this moment in their lives. I agree. Let them be. Simply love and support.

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  19. Love this!

    I became my mom several years ago when I adopted her favorite phrase to my siblings and me, “Think it through and figure it out.” Our choices were our own, but so were the consequences. Maaan! Talk about some hard lessons!

    I used the phrase with my children when they were in their teens, They’re all in their thirties now, fairly successful and are still thinking it through and figuring it out, But then, so am I. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Kathy, such a heavy topic but so needed in terms of allowing everyone to have their own opinions of how they want to raise their children… I totally agree with and see your perspective of allowing your children the freedom to choose and therefore, that freedom entails accepting any consequences of their actions.. I believe that’s the only way we learn.. My husband and I believe the same. Of course, dealing with a 3yo is completely different than dealing with young adults 🙂 so I can’t wait to see what we come upon as she grows into her own… Of course, children/youth don’t have the wherewithal/aptitude to see the potential mistakes of certain actions so I think my job as a parent is to try to guide her (show when possible, but mostly guide) so that she can learn to make these decisions herself.. sometimes it also takes a lot of coaxing too… why do you want to do this, what kind of life do you see yourself living, have you researched the monetary successes of this type of industry and whether or not that could afford (in all senses) the type of life you want… these are things I imagine I would say to 20yo Charlotte 🙂

    I think you and Dwight are doing great, but you don’t need me to tell you that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First, thank you for this comment. I think people (for some reason) assume we don’t ask follow-up questions, etc., but what you’ve described is kind of how it goes, and we’ve been having those convos for a looooong time, so by the time 18 hits, it should be natural for them to have this internal dialogue. In fact, a lot of times before they ask either of us anything, there’s this lost they’ve thought about lol

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I really respect your parenting style and try to do the same as I stumble along. My daughter is only 15 but this read comes at a good time to remind me that it’s all about her finding fulfillment in her life.

    Organic farming is so important and needed. Not to judge but it does look like your daughter chose one of the most essential and important jobs – organic farming! Love it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Riiight, Irene…their personal fulfillment, not MY personal fulfillment lol

      I’ll accept this judgment. I’m very proud of the choice she’s made.

      Thank you for this comment!

      Like

  22. Neither of my kids went to college. Both were out of the house and living on their own at ages 19 and 20. I still think my daughter might end with formal training is some sort. My son is learning HVAC via an on the job apprenticeship. He loves it. The bottom line is—they are good people.❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is definitely the bottom line, and I think it’s very important, more so now than ever, to begin to shift to this idea. We’ve done the congrats you’ve climbed the corporate ladder life long enough in our society.

      Thanks for this comment, Laura! Glad I’m not alone in this thinking.

      Like

  23. I think that, regardless of career path, that life isn’t so linear. There will be times of growth and times of stagnation. That’s not an indicator of success or failure, just what most of us go through.

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  24. I applaud and commend how you support your daughters’ interests. Organic farming sounds wonderful to me. And Kesi will find her own path. We often need to try several before one fits us. Thanks for your example, we have a teen who will be wrestling with these issues soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s tough, Rebecca. Watching the bumps and so-called mistakes are hard to watch, but I always remind myself not to project my expectations onto either of them. I have my own life, and so do they.

      Thanks so much for this comment 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Venturing out of the home at 18 is what people in my generation did and I certainly respect those who still do. However, not all can. We are — the the Census has documented this — moving toward being a less mobile society for a variety of reasons — the child’s finances, the need older parents may have for a caregiver in the home, the cost of housing and healthcare, job opportunities (or lack thereof), state regulation, etc. (Why exactly do states license hairdressers or plumbers, anyway? Are technical requirements in Colorado and Wyoming that different?) The Federal system of government places a huge overhead burden on every American. (Why does Kentucky have 120 county governments? Or Delaware and Rhode Island even exist as states? We’re actually paying a lot for that horseback legacy.) In today’s reality, people make and have to make different choices. So be it.

    The fundamental argument for college is about keeping options open.A lot of the jobs that exist today won’t exist in the near future and one needs to be able to pivot accordingly. You can be an accomplished organic farmer here, but can you replicate that on Mars if required? No one can see the future, so having the best toolkit possible with which to face it would seem to make sense. And a successful modern farmer requires some expertise in business management, marketing, biology, chemistry and computers. One of the most successful small farmers I know is a civil engineer from a farming family who built a fully solar powered farm.

    However, to quote a refrain from a Willie Nelson song, “if you mind your own business, you won’t be minding mine.” That’s a good way to live. Willie may be a Texan but the logic is pure Maine: be ready to help your neighbor, but never tell them how to live.

    Save being judgmental for evil politicians who deserve it.

    Viva Ukraine!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “But never tell them how to live” YES!

      I agree with having a basic skill set, which to me, includes some critical thinking skills. Doesn’t matter what your profession is if that’s lacking.

      On a separate note, our daughter’s program includes learning the business part of farming, which is one reason we thought it was reputable and useful, so thanks for mentioning that…it’s definitely important.

      Appreciate you reading and commenting on this one, Vic!

      Liked by 2 people

  26. Yeah! Congratulations to Desi and I bet she is super excited about her new adventure in life. The course sounds fascinating and it is wonderful how you gave her the space, with support, advice, to go in her own direction. Parenting is a huge responsibility and one must learn to recognise the young adult of the child, appreciate their decisions, whatever the outcome! Your post writes with compassion, tenderness and deep understanding on this topic.

    My son was set on university but I ensured he had considered the other options – he wanted a degree but also the ‘student’ experience – sadly like students around the globe he only got two terms of this but in the meantime has grown even more as an adult. Meanwhile, I have keenly followed his friends and love how the parents have let the childen go their own way, one dropped out of uni after a few months, came home to work within tree surgery and gardening and now going to study environmental sciences at the same uni this year! It takes guts to say something is not right and find a new path …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Annika! I appreciate this comment 💕

      Thanks also for raising an issue about pandemic young adults. None of us will ever know what being a young adult means in these times, and the examples you’ve given show that. I think we all are learning how to pivot.

      Kudos to your son’s friend 🙌🏽

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Support them to make their own decisions. Over the years of childhood and young adulthood, give them the tools, and if possible resources, to pursue what they want to do. Yes, to everything you said. When a ‘friend’ says, “How can you let them …” that’s unproductive and says more about the person saying it than anyone else.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I have the benefit of retrospect on this one, my children all being in their 30s. My philosophy of parenting was that my job was teach them the skills necessary to lead independent and productive lives. That meant they had choices and came to appreciate consequences. The comment about the child living at home till 30 speaks of the lack of backbone of the parent. Sounds like your children are well prepared to have the pleasure of discovering their own life path.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly, VJ! I think people mistake choice for lack of parental backbone, and that’s not true.

      Thank you for adding your personal experience, too. I know everything’s gonna turn out fine 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Wow, wow, wow! This is so inspirational to me as a parent of young kids. Especially the goal of “supporting our daughters no matter what they choose to do and no matter what the outcome.” Beautiful!

    Sending great wishes to Desi on her first day of organic farming! Congratulations to you and Dwight, Kathy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Wynne! I’ll tell you this. We started with the choice thing when they were young. Of course, the choices were age appropriate, but they were mostly always encouraged to think and decide first.

      Thank you for these well wishes 💕

      Liked by 2 people

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