“I just want my kids to be friends with me.”
I often hear this noble pursuit from fellow parents.
It comes from a place of deep love.
But the cold truth is we can’t control other people.
We can’t make someone feel a specific way.
And that’s a tough pill to swallow for the people we love most.
It begs an interesting question:
Can you MAKE someone you love act a certain way?
Can you MAKE them feel a certain way?
Focus on the process, not the outcome
I know it’s a bit of a trope, but this applies to “being friends” with your kids.
What a parent can control is how you show up as a friend.
Do you show up with love, loyalty, trust, mutual respect, acceptance, non-judgment and unconditional support?
That might be considered “the work” of friendship.
But you MUST be OK with the fact that you can show up as a friend – and still be rejected as a friend.
And while showing up this way usually creates a karmic boomerang back in your direction.
It doesn’t guarantee it.
And if you believe that it is owed to you – you’ll probably be disappointed.
You’re not owed shit
“You have the right to work, but for the work’s sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work.”
This verse from Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita is a timeless reminder of how to show up.
And what to expect.
And not expect.
The beauty of the verse is the reminder that we can control how we show up.
As parents. Friends. Bosses. Colleagues. Lovers.
Furthermore, each of these roles comes with duties and responsibilities.
Yet, you have no right to the “fruits of work.”
(A huge YIKES for us control freaks.)
But by letting go of the attachment to specific results, you reduce anxiety, expectations and egocentric desires.
Now it doesn’t mean you don’t care.
It means the exact opposite. You showed up to perform your “work” at its highest standard.
You were the “best possible friend” to your kids.
But as the verse continues:
“Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working.”
The motive is to show them love.
Not the love they show back to you.
That’s just the bonus.