“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet
“Marrika was my client’s mother.”
Marrika was not my actual client. Marrika was my client’s mother. My client, her daughter, Marcy, had come to see me regarding her stress and her panic attacks as she attended university. Marcy had been a keen, but cautious, learner. Nineteen, tall, blondish, cute with large sparkling blue eyes. She had quickly determined her goals and was adamant she needed to get her anxiety under control now.
As Marcy was signing her service contract and settling her fees, an anxious look passed over her face. When I asked her if there was a problem, she said no. And, so we booked her next consult and off she went.
However, Marrika called that evening in her own panic. Marrika told me Marcy had used her student loan to pay the fees… and she couldn’t afford to do that as she needed it for her education… and then added…she was a single parent and in no position to help her…her health plan didn’t offer much coverage…and she was divorced from Marcy’s father who kept a distance and so on.
“…good things about your thinking, instead of feeling, approach…”
As I listened to Marrika’s concerns, it was clear she also struggled to manage her anxiety. I said to her,
“Marrika, I can hear the worry in your voice for Marcy using her student loan to pay for her counselling. Did she share with you why she didn’t access the student counselling services at the university which is included in her student fees?”
“Yes, I certainly did! She told me she wanted to keep it confidential…that it was a small school and she had heard good things about your thinking, instead of feeling, approach to counselling.” she replied, the urgency still strong in her voice.
“Well, all counselling services are confidential, whenever and wherever they are provided, but the therapeutic approach is determined by the individual psychologist, within the parameters of our provincial legislation.” I told her.
“Marcy’s very independent in her own way, so I don’t try to interfere, she really liked your approach but was complaining about the costs. So, I told her I would help her. But, when I realized the cost…it really surprised me…she can’t afford that kind of money at this point in her life…being a student and all.”
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
– Robert Fulghum, author
“‘If the why is big enough, the how will appear!’”
“Marrika can I offer you some thoughts to perhaps help you make sense of this situation Marcy has put herself in by choosing to work with me?”
“I sure would…Ken, I don’t want her jeopardizing her education.” she said, lowering her voice slightly for the first time.
“There is an old saying, ‘If the why is big enough, the how will appear!’ If our motivation is strong enough, we will find a way to deal with a challenge. Have you ever heard that before, Marrika?”
“Not really! But, I believe it because raising Marcy was no picnic at times. I had to motivate myself many times when I wanted to give up.”
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Because you called me, I’m confident Marcy is very important to you…is one of your big ‘why’s’ which motivated you to contact me…can you see that, Marrika?”
“Yes…yes I can, Ken! I love my daughter and would do anything for her.” she said, her voice dropping another notch lower.
“As you know, that’s because of your values…you place high value on Marcy and her well being, correct?” I asked.
“…there must be a cost to the benefit of learning…so we must pay for our values…”
“Marrika our values are our learning tools and we are never outside them…they help us prepare for our future.” I said, wondering if she was ready to chunk higher in her thinking about her life.
“Do you mean my worrying about Marcy help me learn things for my own future, Ken?”
“Yes, and since everything in nature follows the duality law, there must be a cost to the benefit of learning…so we must pay for our values…there is no free lunch in life!”
“So, because I’m Marcy’s Mom, I’m charged by Mother Nature…is that what your saying?”
“Indeed I am! And, that’s a great way to put it, Marrika! You are indeed charged for being a mother by Mother Nature!” I said with a small chuckle, which she heard because she matched it, relaxing herself for a moment.
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”
– Charles R. Swindoll, educator
“When I think of her, I know I’m OK…”
“It is kind of like Mother Nature is pushing me to notice how much I love my daughter by giving me the responsibility to help her with her counseling costs!” Marrika volunteered.
“Remember, you could ignore Marcy’s challenge if you choose…but you don’t because of your values which come from your own past, not Marcy’s…it comes from your own
history, before Marcy even existed…!”
“That’s true! I remember watching my mother struggling to raise us and I am determined to do the same or better, if I can!”
“And since, to me, Marcy seems to be doing pretty well, she’s determined to take care of herself, knows how to ask for help, doing OK in school, has the self confidence to live her own life…you have been doing a perfect job! Have you noticed that, Marrika?”
She paused before answering my question. Her eyes flushed themselves momentarily before she said,
“Marcy’s the best thing that ever happened to me, Ken! When I think of her, I know I’m OK…just because she is out there living her life…designing her own future!”
“I’m starting to see what’s going on here, Ken.”
“So, you can see how Marcy reminds you of how successful you are as a Mom…as a person, eh?”
“That’s true, Ken! And, not just me…also her father, Malach. We haven’t been close since our divorce, but he would help if he knew and Marcy wouldn’t tell him because she kind of blames him for us being separated. I need to talk to him!”
“So, now you are talking about reaching out to Malach, the way Marcy reached out…an important skill for every person’s future…wouldn’t you agree?”
“I’m starting to see what’s going on here, Ken. Can I call you back once I’ve talked to Malach and Marcy?”
“Certainly, Marrika! I look forward to hearing from you! Talk soon!”
Marrika called me the next day to tell me she, Malach and Marcy had talked and worked out a way for her to continue her work with me. She also indicated they had decided to go out for a Christmas dinner together, as a family…a first since the divorce.
“You know Ken, we are a family even if we don’t live together anymore. And, I may want to come see you myself because there are some other things in my life I need to find the benefits of besides Marcy’s financial challenges.”
“ I look forward to hearing from you Marrika!” I said.
“Both a marriage and a divorce are an individual’s learning tools…to prepare them for their unique future!” – King Ayles, author