Publisher's Letter August 2018
Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs we can ever have. There are no vacations, and while they say if we do it right we work ourselves right out of the job, I don’t think that is correct.
Yes, we work to cultivate self-sufficiency, but that does not mean that our children will not forever remain so in our eyes, even when they have children of their own, are older than we were when we brought them into the world and even when their hair is going grey. No one can prepare us for the all-encompassing, never-ending love that comes with being a parent. Others may come and go in life, but your child is forever more your child.
Many of the titles referenced in our Simplified Parenting feature article on page 15 reference “calm, collected” parenting. The article is full of excellent advice and wisdom. I wish I could say I was always calm and collected, but that is not even remotely true. I am far from being a perfect parent. I have lost my cool more than I would like to admit. I read a quote, I’m not quite sure where it was from, but it basically said, “Our kids don’t need perfect parents, they need us—who we truly are—warts and all.“ I took comfort in those words. Authenticity for the win!
Of course, we want to be our best selves with our children and with everyone we meet, but we are human, and by nature imperfect. I couldn’t have screwed up too badly, because my son has grown into one heck of a man. If you have a little one at home trying your patience, I hope you will take comfort in those words, too. They need you—authentic, imperfect you. They will see through anything less.
I read a book when my son was young, Raising Your Spirited Child, and it was a life-saver! One of the analogies I liked in the book compared a well-adjusted child to a river. As long as we don’t pollute it, it will remain a healthy body of water. If we let our children be who they are, without polluting them with our “garbage” or expectations for who we think they should be, they will thrive. Our job is to not get in the way of their evolution to becoming their truest selves.
One of the most beautiful things about becoming a parent for me was seeing the world through his eyes. It was like going through a second childhood. He restored my sense of awe and wonder in simple things, in nature. I would have never believed that I could develop an interest in dinosaurs, but how can you resist a 2-year old who tells you his favorite dinosaur is a pachycephalosaurus? Can you pronounce that word? I had not even heard of such a creature until he came along, much less have been able to spell or pronounce it. His pronunciation was perfect—and unbelievably adorable.
But it’s not all dinosaurs, butterflies and rainbows. It’s hard work, and kids can wear you out. They don’t understand that parents have their own needs. We are superhuman in their eyes. Parents need to take a break and recharge when they can, which I know is not always easy. It is however, one of the very best things you can do for your children.
Andrew Shykofsky shares how meditation can be that mini-break in “Meditation Takes the Edge off Parenting,” on page 14.
I hope you find this issue useful, informative and encouraging in your journey as a parent and as an individual. I hope it helps you achieve more off those calm and collected moments, but if you should be less than perfect, I hope you will take a breath and take a moment to recharge. Remind yourself that while your children may think you are superhuman, you are still a perfectly imperfect human. They wouldn’t want you any other way.
"Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.” ~Saint Francis de Sales