Earlier, as I sat down to help my 10-year-old daughter with her maths homework I was itching to tackle my own ‘to-do list’ and had to battle the urge to blurt out the answers in order to speed things up. Instead, I made a conscious effort to watch patiently as she worked through problems, stepping in with gentle course corrections when necessary, but also withholding until assistance was genuinely required. This was not easy. In any situation, where ‘we know’ how to do things (even when we don’t have a ‘to do list’ to complete) it’s tempting to jump straight in with the answers, to tell someone how to do something or to share our own ‘wisdom’.
Parenting my 16-year-old daughter stirs up another unique blend of emotions, revolving more around life’s intricacies than mathematical equations. With Libby it’s the heart-wrenching fear of allowing her the freedom to chart her own course, make her own mistakes and fail her own way that overwhelmingly occupies my thoughts.
While I was reflecting on this, I realized that many of our nurturing relationships share similarities. The common thread whether it’s parenting, mentoring, managing a team or providing any other kind of developmental relationship is the need for patience. Patience and gentle guidance. Rather than seizing control and dictating the course (which is at times is very hard to resist) it’s about finding the strength to step back, let go and provide support only when it’s needed. And doing so without judgement, with the other person’s best interests at heart (i.e. not what we ‘think’ is in their best interests). This is not easy to do (especially when we have lots to do) but there’s something profoundly moving in witnessing someone work through challenges and discover solutions on their own.
Learning from Guiding Others
In the same way that’s there’s an art to letting go there’s also an art to learning from the act of helping others discover their own path. When we proactively seek to nurture someone, it deepens our level of empathy and patience. We learn or are reminded of the nuances of authentically connecting and actively listening, recognizing that sometimes the most valuable discoveries come not from our words but from the silent spaces in which others find their own answers. This process also teaches us the beauty of celebrating diversity, for each and every individual’s journey truly is unique and to be celebrated as such. These essential aspects of our human experience impact us both individually and collectively.
Our Individual Need to Guide
We all possess an innate need for relationships that encourage exploration and discovery. Talk to any parent or mentor who has watched someone grow. They won’t describe it as being a task or something that they were duty bound to do, rather a gift for which they are typically deeply grateful. They have found themselves thriving through watching someone they care about grow and develop. It gives energy and a sense of being alive like few other experiences.
The Collective Power of Nurturing Relationships
Collectively, we often fail to recognize both the immense power and critical importance of these relationships for the broader human community. They serve as the bedrock of humankind’s progress. As we encourage others to discover their unique potential, we contribute to a society enriched with diverse perspectives and capabilities. Such relationships foster tolerance, empathy, and unity, allowing us to overcome challenges and find innovative solutions to complex problems. They create ripples of positive change that extend far beyond individual moments or individual lives, shaping the very fabric of our society.
To help foster these nurturing relationships I’ve spent the last 2 years creating a platform called Oka Life that connects people, primarily as mentor and mentee, based on psychological compatibility. Through meticulous research and development, our platform ensures that users not only swiftly establish the trust essential for these relationships to be most effective but also provides guidance on the most effective ways to offer and receive support.
We’re looking for Founding Mentors who will set the standard for mentoring in Oka. Founding Mentors will be a tight community of like-minded people who are core to our ambition. Sign up to our waitlist at https://oka.life/waitlistpage to become part of this.
Be quick though, as our available spaces for this opportunity are limited.
Image – pexels.com Ron Lach