Hold You Me
Between world events and family milestones, the word TRUST has been coming up a lot for me lately. What does trust mean to me in the context of my relationship with G-d… and how does it show up in my relationship with my kids?
Very often, I find myself getting into a trust battle with my kids. Have you ever experienced this? I’m hoping I’m not alone; it would totally make me feel better ;).
Perhaps you’re wondering what the heck is a trust battle? I never heard of this term before, I just made it up… It’s me describing what the experience feels like. It happens with kids of all ages. We want our kids to be honest with us, so that we can “trust” them. Many times, I have used trust as a semi threat, like “I’m not going to be able to trust you if….” I don’t usually see positive results arise from that type of conversation.
Yet, there is the flip side, which comes to light often, when parenting a teenage daughter, as I do 😊.
Our poor kids are exposed to way more than their developing brains are equipped to deal with. (my opinions about smart phones and social media for teenagers I will share at a different time). Us moms are smart; we know when we are not getting the full story from our teens. We try having conversations, yet for me, they usually end with my kids telling me “well, you don’t trust me anyhow, so why should I even try…” basically, they use trust as a threat right back at me. It’s almost as if now I have the job of proving to my child that I do (which I probably don’t) trust them, because I want them to trust me, so that they will talk to me. See where I’m going with this? Pretty much it’s a lose lose situation. And let’s not forget, it’s definitely not my responsibility (going back to a previous post of what’s in and out of our control) to convince them what they should think and feel. So, trust becomes a trigger which then ends up hurting the relationship instead of building it.
With guidance from awesome professionals, I have received a lot of tips on how to address and talk about trust in a more practical way. For example, for elementary age children I found it beneficial to talk about the actions that build trust and the things that break trust. It takes a really abstract concept and makes it a bit more concrete. For a while I had a trust cup for each child and when they did something that built trust, I would add some beans to the cup. It’s not magic and it’s not a standalone idea, but it did really help them process the concept, “Oh, when I lie to my mom about doing my homework…that breaks trust”. When dealing with teens, however, I found the concept of trust became more elusive. We can talk about what breaks and builds trust but what is trust exactly? It’s more than just actions. How do ensure that we don’t get caught in the battle of “you trust me, you trust me not”
My 16-year-old daughter Shoshana (omg really hard to wrap my brain around the fact that I have a 16 yr. old) is coming home soon, after being enrolled in a therapeutic boarding school for over a year. I have shared bits and pieces of our journey with Shoshana on different occasions, and a blog post about that is in the works 😉 but briefly for those who aren’t familiar: We adopted Shoshana 4 years ago, when she was 12. She is a really cool kid and super awesome! She has dealt with more in her short life than most people experience in a lifetime and needed a safe and qualified place to process and work through her challenges.
Why am I telling you this?
Every week we have a group therapy session (over zoom, which was in existence way before Covid ) with Shoshana, her therapist, my husband and myself. These sessions are super powerful and have facilitated so much growth between all of us. As she gets closer to coming home and we’re discussing many different topics, we’re hoping to prep ourselves for the most success possible. So, I bring up the topic of trust with the intent of being open and honest about how it affected our relationship until now. What ensued was the most amazing raw and honest conversation. To sum it up, how do we trust and be trusted by someone? Vulnerability. Light bulb!!!! When we can be vulnerable with someone, by sharing whatever our truth is and trusting the other to hold us and our truth, no matter what, that’s trust. When we do that, no matter what information needs to be conveyed, even if you have to own a major mistake, you can do it, you can speak with integrity and honesty, knowing the other person can hold it. And that is something every one of us can do in our relationships. You start being that person that can hold another. Your child, spouse or friend will feel that they too can be vulnerable with you and the trust circle is built!
Which leads me to share the background of the title of this post. Hold you me. My 3 yr. old Chana Laya says this to me when she wants me to hold her. Besides for it being absolutely adorable, it struck me. This optimizes what our kids need from us, they need us to be able to hold them, truly hold them, not only physically but even more so emotionally. And when we do so, it is the foundation upon which mutual trust is built. So, every time my baby says hold you me, I remind myself that I am to be the container that can hold my children, no matter what!
As far as my relationship with G-d. I basically apply the same principle. I trust that Hashem can hold me, everything about me. My ups and my downs, my challenges and triumphs. When I put my trust in Hashem, He puts His trust back in me and that’s what starts my spiritual trust circle.
HOLD YOU ME