Parenting is hard work. There’s not just the fact that we’re never off-duty, but there are difficult decisions to make, character issues to address (in both the children and in ourselves) and so much uncertainty. I mean, let’s face it, the stakes are pretty high. If we don’t do our jobs well, bad things can happen–to our kids and to the people who live in their circles. Even if we do do our jobs well, our children have the same free will that we have, and they can choose whatever they want to choose–whether or not it’s in their best interest. Whether or not it will break our hearts.
Regardless of how our children are turning out in life, parenting definitely increases our perspective on our own parents. The experience of having our own children can make us even more critical in our assessment of our own parents or it can work in the reverse, filling us with a greater awareness of and appreciation for our own moms and dads.
I think most adults look back at their parents and wonder why they did some of what they did and wonder how in the world that managed to do some of the rest. Either way, even if circumstances were not ideal in our own childhoods, there is reason to give thanks. Parents are imperfect people, too, as we well know once we begin our own parenting journeys. Every parent does something right.
Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.”
Challenge: Thank your parents for what they did right. Consider being quiet about the rest.