My child is tired from a day at middle school. He is busy doing homework and finds himself thirsty. I get the request for a drink. I answer the call. I stop what I’m doing to satisfy his need. Could he have stopped what he was doing instead to satisfy his thirst?
Am I empowering him to know he can take care of himself by running to get him his drink? Am I preparing him for a healthy relationship with his future lover, having him assume she will want to stop what she is doing to serve him so he doesn’t have to?
A giving nature takes pleasure in serving. Yet all positive traits can become negative when not done in balance. By allowing others to serve themselves when they can, we are supporting them in taking care of themselves so they don’t expect others to do it for them.
I am a giver, and it gives me pleasure to please him, and I know he likes when I do for him. I may be able to quench my son’s thirst by giving him a drink but I cannot make him happy. Only he can do this for himself. If I am always doing for him though, am I actually sending him the message that we must look to others to satisfy ourselves, rather than to ourselves? Am I actually doing something positive for him?
I know when we look to others to complete us, satisfy us, make us happy, we are setting ourselves up to not experience these things. Other people can enhance these parts of your life, but ultimately the only person who can truly make you happy and content is you. If you are always looking to others to do these things for you, you will find yourself disappointed in others.
It is hard for me to disappoint my child in the moment by not getting up to give him something he can get for himself. As I say “no” to him, I now remind myself, I am actually saying “I love you and I empower you to go and get whatever is going to bring you joy, satisfaction, and pleasure in your life as you continue to grow.”