A LESSON IN PATIENCE
When Kids Become the Teachers
I knew motherhood would have plenty of lessons, but what I never expected was just how often my children would be the teachers. Last Mother’s Day, I wrote in this newsletter about how I had to grow out of my tendency to play “mama bear” and give my growing kids more independence. Now, as my oldest approaches college-age, I want to talk about another value she and her siblings have imparted to me over the years: the importance of patience. Now, I set out to make time for my kids from the very beginning. Ensuring that they felt valued and important was something deeply important to me because of my own upbringing. My mother loved my brother and me, but it was a different time, and she was a single woman working and getting an education. We were the reason she was working so hard — but that often meant we didn’t get her attention. I remember her constantly asking me to “sit and wait” while she ran important errands, and as a kid, it drove me crazy. While I understand the kind of stress she was under now, a child just doesn’t have that context. At the time, it made me feel unimportant. That’s not something I wanted my kids to go through. So, from being a stay-at-home mom to founding this firm, I always tried to make time for them. The last thing I wanted was to drag them to some boardroom and ask them to sit and wait outside. But even while I was jumping through all these hoops to be physically present for them, I wasn’t always the best at actually slowing down and listening to them. Patience has never been my strong suit, if I’m being honest. It’s the lawyer in me: I want to get to solutions, tackle problems immediately, and, of course, I want to be proven right when there are disagreements. These traits may work well in the courtroom but not the kitchen table. I’ve had to
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take this to heart over the years, and thankfully, my kids have had the patience to help.
This is especially true of my daughters. They helped me realize that whenever they came to me with problems, my response was always to dive into finding solutions. But so often, that’s not what people are actually looking for when they confide in someone. They don’t want solutions; they want to be heard and validated. I’m still learning, but thanks to their honesty, I’m getting better. Ultimately, everyone wants to feel valued and respected. As a parent, that respect can be the most important and the hardest thing to give your kids because it often means giving them room to do things differently. It can be hard to step back, but slowly and surely, I’ve found it’s more than worth it. I’m so proud of the young adults my kids are growing up to be. Laughing with them and learning with them has been the treasure of my life, and that is what I’ll be celebrating this Mother’s Day.
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Here’s to all the things our kids can teach us,
-Heather Qu ick
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