Being a parent is sort of like being a high wire trapeze artist. One wrong move and you’re a goner!
Being a good parent is even harder. The challenge: you love your children with all your heart but sometimes you must suppress the urge to kill them. Good parents have learned how to do this.
Don’t get me wrong; being a dad has been my greatest blessing in this life. And being a granddad is just ‘icing on the cake’. It’s just that sometimes it’s maddening. There is no instruction manual and kids have no warranty and the return policy is practically non-existent. But still parenthood remains the most rewarding experience in life.
Here’s why: Sometimes they love you back! It’s that simple. Your kid can grow up to be a president or a pimp but if they love you then you know that somewhere along the line you must have done something right.
Deb and I raised our kids with one philosophy – “What in hell are we doing?” We really had no clue (I still don’t) but we just loved them and somehow muddled through. So far not one of them is a serial killer or has written a ‘tell-all’ tale about their childhood; so we must have done (sort of) okay.
I think that there are basically two parenting styles:
The first one is what I call “The Helicopter-Science Project Parent”. These are the folks that are constantly hovering over their kids. They do EVERYTHING for the little darlings. They check their homework each night; they make sure that junior has all the right friends and monitor ALL activity. They keep their little loved ones on a pretty tight leash. And of course as the name implies – they actually build that amazing ‘Science Fair Volcano’ that junior takes credit (and the blue ribbon) for. These kids likely get in the best schools and live lives that their parents are proud of but they seem sad and stifled and will certainly have a mid-life crisis.
The second style is what I call “This Seems like a Good Idea Today”. I think most of us fall into this category. I know we certainly did. We tried to let our kids make their own mistakes (we’d already made enough of our own) and learn from them. We tried to be supportive and ALWAYS encouraged our kids to take risks within reason. Our mantra was “You are only limited by your imagination” but in reality we subscribed more to the theory of “Have an adventure but don’t forget to wear your seatbelt”. It’s hard to push those ‘baby birds’ out of the nest but somehow we knew that would be for the best – even when sometimes we were hanging on for dear life (ours not theirs).
And those science projects? They were awful!
Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing (except for maybe that time when I made Blake’s teacher cry at ‘Parent-Teacher Conferences’ even though she had it coming!) Giving your kids freedom means they are more likely to “mess up” but more opportunity equals more potential. I’ll take a little craziness any day over boring and bland. Oh, and love! Love is important – don’t forget to love your kids, especially when they are at their least lovable. And pray – even if you’re just asking for God to help you not kill them.
Hallmark® that purveyor of profundity sells a wall hanging that Deb purchased when our granddaughter Anna was born. It now hangs in her bedroom. And even though I don’t usually like schmaltzy stuff; I love this plaque.
IN THIS HOME…
WE DO SECOND CHANCES.
WE DO GRACE.
WE DO REAL.
WE DO MISTAKES.
WE DO I’M SORRYS.
WE DO LOUD REALLY WELL.
WE DO HUGS.
WE DO FAMILY.
WE DO LOVE.
How about that for a parenting philosophy? And don’t forget to wear your seatbelt!