During a women's retreat last weekend I asked each participant
to share their "magic" - their gift, the thing that makes them come
alive, the thing they love to share.
Maybe it's something they do with their hands or their ability
to listen and empathize.
It could be their creative ideas, their ability to take care of
themselves, or maybe it's their open-hearted perspective on the
We all have magic and our magic isn't limited; we have many
gifts, but sometimes one piece of magic seems to shine above the
This is a gift and a key, and by claiming it we wake up the
deepest part of ourselves, the part that embraces life and
But so many of us don't know what our magic is or we don't
believe in magic at all.
We walk around thinking we should be different - more like our
parents, more like someone on television, or more like our neighbor
down the block.
We pine after somebody else's magic instead of claiming our
As Einstein said, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a
fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life
believing that it is stupid."
If you believe you are supposed to be like others or do exactly
what others do, life may feel like a struggle.
You will expend all of your energy trying to climb that tree
instead of embracing the freedom and comfort of the water.
Your magic is comfortable, your magic is you. You may think that
everybody can do what you do, but they can't do it the way you do
it. Your magic is effortless and enjoyable.
It's not a competition; the world is big and abundant enough for
all of us to have magic. It is unnecessary to steal or override the
magic of others.
And if we embrace our magic on an everyday basis, in our work,
in our parenting, or in solitude, we feel love and gratitude which
enables us to give back to the world in a meaningful way.
Your kids know their magic. They are telling and showing you on
an everyday basis. But if you keep expecting them to "climb
the tree" they will begin to doubt their magic, which means they
will doubt themselves.
Instead of "knowing" their place in the world they will look to
you for their place in the world. And then when you aren't
available, they will look to others for their place in the
world. And when others are quiet or unkind, they will believe
they don't have a place in the world.
You need to help your children play the game of life in a safe
and educated way, but the greater and more powerful part of your
job is to support them as they claim themselves.
It may be their unique perspective on the world or the way they
care for others.
It may be the way they stand up for themselves or have a strong
sense of fairness.
It may be the way they enjoy the simple things or see beauty and
comfort in the world, or maybe it's a gift in their hands or
If you are unsure or you are in disbelief that your children
even have magic, maybe you haven't experienced magic personally.
Maybe your magic is still a mystery.
If you cannot see your gifts, elicit the love and support of
others. Allow others to share what they see - you are the
only one that can fully acknowledge and embrace your gifts, but
allow your loved ones to throw up signposts pointing you in the
You will know you are getting close when their comments bring
tears to your eyes, when you experience what it feels like to be
Then you will have the understanding and ability to offer this
to your children; to allow them to integrate and internalize their
magic at an early age.
Then they will know for sure they are more than a test score or
an outfit, and they will know they are more than their greatest
They will feel what it means to be an individual with
unmistakable purpose, and more importantly, they will know they
We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our
privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.
~ Mary Dunbar
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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