For a young Jewish man (still in his teens) living in a Russian town during this period to declare he wanted to pursue a career as an artist would have been totally unfathomable to his mother. Thanks to her maternal instinct, her belief in her son's conviction, her courage and love and respect for her son, she did everything she could to support his aspirations and Chagall went on to become one of the most successful artists of the twentieth century. She certainly sounds an admirable character and the kind of mother we all need and should strive to be!
Everyone wants the best for their children, for them to accomplish and achieve their dreams. As a parent, it can't be easy to watch them struggle at times or to see them pursue something far removed from what you might have liked or hoped for them to do. It's difficult for parents and grandparents to live in different cities or countries from their children, as is now more and more common among families. I imagine it can be challenging accepting certain lifestyle choices that your children make or observing their relationships with people you find it hard to warm to. Yet it's these very challenges that I think define parenthood.
Chagall's mother is a testament to what good parenting can achieve. Giving encouragement, support and respect to our children, whilst allowing them to create their own destiny. I was reminded of this extract from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet:
'Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, and yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, not tarries with yesterday'.