Discipline, positive work ethic and being ready to survive in the real world.
If you asked my husband what his responsibility is when it comes to the kids, he may list those three things I mentioned above. I go back and forth in my mind each time I ask myself honestly, what is the most important thing I, as a parent, can do for my child? The problem is there are SO many things to do all the time. From the time they are born, we are teaching them how to eat, crawl, walk, write, drive. The list goes on and on. Somehow though, when I look at my children, I can’t help but wonder if simply loving them trumps everything else.
The world is a tough place. I think we can try and shove things down kids throats before they are ready. What I’ve seen is that when you try to do that, they literally choke. Sometimes they will look you in the face, stick their finger down their throat and purposely gag. They start to eye roll every time you have another lesson you are all too eager to teach. The truth is, everyone learns in their own time. Life has a funny way of slapping you upside the head when there is something you just aren’t getting. You will have the same lesson over and over again until finally you figure it out. AND, you will figure it out.
So, back to parenting. Should we really get all aggravated and befuddled every time we try and force a lesson on our kids and they reject it or don’t seem to get it? Should we consider ourselves a failure because our kid burps in public or chews with his mouth open? Should we try and shove harder and harder, make them get it? And then what? Maybe our job as a parent is to provide a place where our kids feel confident enough to learn on their own and someplace safe enough to fall if for some reason they fail. Maybe our job is to love them no matter who they are, who they love, what color they dye their hair, how many times they burp after we ask them not to and still love them after they have rolled their eyes for the 12 millionth time. Maybe that love is enough to send them the message, you are okay just the way you are and I have confidence you will turn out to be a decent human being without me forcing you to do so.
I don’t know, that’s what I think but what do I know? I’m not a perfect parent. I yell. I lose my patience. I say things that I know I’ll regret and I pray my criticism won’t completely ruin their self esteem. However, every single day, whether I like them or not, I do the best to love them for who they are and provide a place they will always feel safe and wanted and accepted and loved. Could there really be anything else that is more important than that? Maybe my job and responsibility as a parent is to just love them while they are busy figuring the rest out on their own.