Family Magazine

How Can I Change for the Better?

By Kenny Bodanis @KennyBodanis

I write a weekly column, "Questions Parents Ask" at Lifeworks.com. I have been authoring it for nearly two years.  I thought it would be relevant to repost this particular column on my blog. 

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We are changed by multitudes of experiences; by tragedies, by relationships, and most definitely by parenting.

The irony of parenting is it demands a flexibility of spirit during those years when we become more and more assured and steadfast in our own belief systems.
We struggle to teach our children open-mindedness and the advantages of critical thinking; while we stodgy parents gradually seem to become convinced we have found the easiest way of doing almost everything.

 Inflexibility and likeability are inversely proportional.

 Our children and (for the most part) our partner will always love us…but will they always like us? Of course not. Not always. But it is important as we grow older not to lose our intellectual and emotional elasticity. Part of maintaining that flexibility – that likeability – is understanding that some things are worth capitulating to simply because they are important to somebody who is important to us.

Sharing by ryancr
Sharing by ryancr via Flickr

 Where (or whether) you go on vacation; altering a work schedule to be more available; being more understanding of a family member’s choice of friends (or the volume of the music blaring from their room!), are all examples of the constant adjustments and conversations which define a family’s dynamic as a being unto itself.

 Compromise is as necessary as it can be difficult, especially as age coupled with the triple role of partner, parent, and individual, combines to make you gravitate more than ever toward a need for your own space and your own sources of stress relief.

 There are very few greater gifts you can give to a family member than to demonstrate your understanding for what is important to them.

I was once told “The most interesting person in a room is the person who makes you feel like the most interesting person in a room.”

We spend a lot of time sharing rooms with our partners and our children. The challenge is to not only seem interested, but to be interested. Our relationships will inevitably change us. Being attentive to how you change can not only result in more “I love you’s” but, even more importantly, more “I like you’s.”


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