Well Spot, I had a strange opportunity to sit in on a conference for a student that I am only partially attached to academically speaking. I found myself thanking my lucky stars for my own upbringing, and for the fortitude I was given in order to stay the course in raising my own kids. (The situation and the student will obviously remain unnamed and somewhat changed in order to protect those involved, but truly this type of conversation comes up often...work vs. active parenting. What's the choice?)
After an hour of talking around the problems, I really wanted to cut to the chase. Instead I kept myself as quiet as I could, offering my opinions in a more limited way. Boy! That sure was hard for me! So, dear reader...here's the skinny on what was going on inside this head:
1. Raising kids IS hard! Those long nights awake, the diaper rash and the chronic teething are only the rehearsals for what gets even harder later on.
2. Yes...kids need someone to tell them they're wrong once in a while, so they can learn to fix it and make things right.
3. Kids need consequences to match actions/inaction.
4. Kids need forgiveness and a chance to grow into their adult shoes.
4. KIDS NEED LOVE AND ATTENTION, and not just when they're little.
Fourteen hour work days preclude the in-the-moment possibility of parenting. And an occasional Sunday afternoon really doesn't get the job done. In truth, the next time you look, that little boy/girl will be towering over you and waving good-bye. But! Kids are always willing to take us back in, even when we've gone down the wrong path for a very long time.
What I really want to tell them is to just go see The Blind Side. What a great movie! I had my doubts, but then I realized with great satisfaction that I had been empowered to parent because I was parented in a powerful way. The Blindside teaches a valuable lesson. Parents need to be present, tough and caring. They need to see their kids all the way through. No child should ever be the extension of a parent's dream. Kids are entitled to dreams of their own. But most important of all, parenting is never something that can be perfected. Parents are human and kids are too. (Parenting is the one job on earth where humility becomes a way of life!) In the end, it is true...love does conquer all!
What lessons have you learned in your adventures with children?