25 years + 9/10months ago, could my parents have anticipated that their soon to be favourite child would be as awesome as she is? Probably, but I'd argue that what they envisioned awesome to be, look, sound or feel like is quite different to who I am and where I am today.
Yes, it's my birthday today and yes I'm the favourite, obviously.
I'd assume that all parents want the best for their children; the best or better opportunities than what they had access to, the best environment for the seedlings to grow and learn about themselves, the world, how they can contribute and so on... That's partly why our tupuna (ancestors) left Hawaiki for Aotearoa, and that 'best' being based on what they know, what they've experienced and their own personal take on life.
It needs to be said, just to make sure there's no reading between lines or misunderstandings - I have the best parents ever. My brothers and I have been spoilt with opportunities to travel, play sport, learn (in and outside of school, more out of school because education doesn't just happen in the classroom. A post for another day), make new friends and we were also spoilt with opportunities to grow, be good people and express ourselves.
I'm grateful for everything my parents have given me, in particular, the gift of belief and reassurance I have in what I do, and who I am. All throughout my life I've done things a little different, I enrolled myself into a school in a different city to where my family was living, twice. I started and left university - which in a family full of educators, wasn't the most popular decision. I left Aotearoa (NZ) where I pretty much had a clear path set for me, to live in Australia and attempt to make something out of nothing (to be a magician, figuratively). And since I'm still figuring out the best way I can embody my passion and purpose and contribute to the world, I can only imagine what type of chaotic mess it looks like from the outside - emphasis on the outside part.
We often clash with others because the vision we have for them and the vision they have for themselves are totally different. When we know how amazing someone can be, how they've yet to fully realise their potential or develop the gifts and talents they were blessed with and from where we're standing they're not living up to that, it's a tough position to be in. Especially when they're close to us. However, and I can only speak from my own experience, just because you may not understand the chaos from an observational point of view,
just because awesome or the road to it look different - doesn't mean that all hope is lost.
Eustress is beneficial and necessary for us to develop from who we were once, to who we are now, to who we will be in the future. If a person is safe (spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally), they'll figure it out. Check up now and then to make sure they're ok and be intentional about it*, take interest in what they do and ask questions about it, express genuine concern if they start to act out of character.. But do it from a space of trying to understand the vision from their perspective, rather than judgement from your own expectations of what their vision should be, feel, sound, look like.
We may not understand or even see the vision people have for themselves, but as their friend, parent, sister, brother, uncle, nan, koro or whoever... we can make sure they feel safe enough to even dare pursue their vision and become who they're meant to be.
Love someone as they are, not who you think they should be and watch them transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves.
*Don't just ask how they are and feel something is off but because they said 'I'm good' take it as truth. Be a good friend or whānau (family), care.
PS: It's gonna be hilarious when I have my own kids one day, refer back to this post to say 'oh what were you saying about.....' I get it haha but until then, shush.