Song lyrics speak to me. I believe they speak to many of us. I have been reflecting on a prolific song writer, David Bowie. Bowie speaks to the many changes we may enter and exit. Take a read of the lyrics from “Changes,” the 1970’s release that still speaks to us.
“I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through” (Bowie, 1971)
As a parent we spend many years watching our children grow. We do our best to keep them on a path we hope will lead to life success. Often we stand on the sideline, lose our persona, become “(your child’s name) Mom/Dad.” We lose ourselves and often our marriages and relationships take a back seat “never leave the stream of warm impermanence” as Bowie sings it (my personal interpretation not Bowie’s).
Soon these weeks turn to years and our children are head out. They head to college, work, graduate from college, marry, have children. All the guidance, words, and love cannot change the plans they make for themselves. Our role changes and we must too. Because the children, “They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through.”
What point am I getting too? We need to be the captain of our course. It is important as our children grow and we stand on the sidelines, we must maintain our lives. When they leave us the result can be catastrophic to our emotions, marriage, and lives. As children enter high school this is a time that many marriages end in divorce. Couples who did not tend to their relationship find the time that has past too vast. Mother’s who have wrapped their identity in their children, are often left in crisis trying to rebuild who they are. Father’s who have spent much of their time working hard outside of the home, may realize they have missed out on their children’s life (you know the song, “Cat in the Cradle”).
What I am about to say may not be popular, but I have found it to be important, parent’s stability is the key to our children’s success. Divorce harms our children, sorry, it is true. On the outside teens put on a strong exterior, but they hurt. The children who come see me are often the family’s steam valve releasing. They can no longer take the tension, pain, conflict of the family.
I beg to you, slow down, savor your gifts of children, love the moments. Tend to your marriage. Love each other. Communicate. Flow with the CH…CH…changes.