So we took Taylor to counseling this week.
I know it might seem weird seeing how I’m a pastor and my wife graduated from college with a degree in ministry. But I’ve learned something over the years: it never hurts to get more help. No matter how much we love our kids, we need others to come along side them with us. Teachers, coaches, mentors, pastors, counselors, friends, family…it takes a village to raise a child, so I’ve heard.
As we sat with our daughter and let another caring adult handle her delicate heart, it felt so peaceful. She listened and spoke differently. I wondered a couple things about the experience…
1. Did just the simple step of taking her to a counselor show her that we took her seriously? It felt like it made her feel like we knew she wasn’t lying and that her feelings were important to us. I’m just making that up, but I sensed that.
2. I wonder if hearing another adult identify with her difficulties, listening to her feelings, and affirming her in the midst of them made her feel like she wasn’t alone? It felt like she softened once she knew that other people out there go through the same stuff and that everything is going to be ok. We can say that everything is going to be ok, but she knows we’re biased, so it doesn’t hold the same meaning as someone else saying it.
It felt good to be a father and to give someone else the reins of my child’s heart. To be by her side instead of in her face. To quietly sit with her was a statement of solidarity. We were on her side of the table. We were listening with her and learning with her. We were submitting to wisdom with her and assuming a place of “vulnerability” with her. It wasn’t just her admitting she didn’t have it all together, we were, in effect, saying, “We as parents don’t know all the ins and outs of life and we need help, too.” We were on her side facing the same direction as her.
I wonder if this is more than half of the healing pilgrimage for my daughter. I wonder if positioning ourselves “with her” is what will give her the strength she needs to overcome her personal obstacles. We all have impasses in life where we come to a certain gridlock in our spirit. The power to move through those invisible barriers is often found in the knowledge that “we’re not annoying”, “we’re not odd”, and “we’re not alone”. When someone will come and sit on our side of the table dwelling with us as we learn those simple truths, the truth we’re discovering begins to stick. Solidarity is like glue. It’s sticky.
Our hearts are so very fragile. We can’t afford to think otherwise and our children certainly haven’t the time for us to let our pride get in the way of humbly asking for help.
I never want to stop sitting next to my daughter and learning how we can get better together.