You are a good parent
Are you a good parent?
Would your children agree with your answer?
I feel every parent should ask themselves these two questions on a fairly regular basis.
Until my son was born, I admit, I didn’t know what being a good parent meant, exactly. I have had nieces and nephews around me for over 12 years in one way or another, and I was able to witness my siblings parenting. It never really registered on an emotionally-connected level until I was personally in the position.
Don’t get me wrong, I understood the basics, but being a successful parent goes well beyond teaching your children the basics of numbers, shapes, and colors. It is more than practicing good manners, or showing them how to drive, and eventually how to be a responsible adult. Those things are givens and your children will pick up bits and pieces of the fundamentals of life from everyone around them as they grow.
I have to add with this, that by a parent, I absolutely include step-parents or anyone else who is fulfilling that role in a child’s life.
Once a child becomes dependent on you for what could essentially be the entirety of who they become, there is an emotional, spiritual, and even unexplainable shift that occurs in you as the now parent.
Success comes from something deeper than a parent provides. It is that almost cosmic-like entity that despite humanity’s greatest attempts we have yet to truly define it, but we know that it is there. Sometimes it is beautiful, such as love and pride but still, at other times, it can be fear or guilt.
Our children learn to love from us. I have always believed that love is something every person is born with the capability of, but it must be treated as if it were a tree out in the open. It starts with a seed, small and simple, along with endless room to grow. As it is nurtured, fed, and shined upon, it pushes its way up through the dirt more and more until its roots are firm and deep enough to support it extending higher and higher into the sky; Branching out to reach others with its vibrancy. We are the ones that must ensure that seed does not remain buried beneath the soil, because over time if it does not grow, it will only descend further away from the surface.
Fear is an aspect of parenting that quite honestly no parent likes to feel or discuss. We are terrified of our children at every step of their development. Suddenly we view everything as a danger. We see the world they will become adults in, and we fear they will not experience the lives we did because of it. Fear, although uncomfortable, stressful, and outright miserable at times, is what keeps us parents prepared. It is inevitable that our children will go through difficult and painful times in their lives, but it is our constant fear for them, that has readied us to handle whatever situation they find themselves in with confidence and oddly enough, positivity. We have imagined and re-imagined the worst-case scenarios repeatedly in our minds for years, so when we tell them that it isn’t that bad, or that it will be okay, we do so with absolute assurance.
Another of the uncomfortable feeling of being a parent is guilt. Not many will admit this one because it could ultimately mean that we are admitting failure or at a minimum not doing our best. However, I feel it constantly as a parent, and with discussions I have had with fellow parents, it is far more common than being acknowledged. We don’t tend to think about the consequences of our actions when we are young, but as we get older and another life depends on us, we start to revisit events that occurred, decisions that were made, and paths that were followed up to this point. What if is the epidemy of guilt. It can be anything from what career you chose and how that perhaps doesn’t provide enough financially, to a split home because of the unfortunate reality that relationships are not all until death do us part or potential issues as a youth with drugs or alcohol that have prevented you from becoming the best adult you feel you could’ve been. The truth is, we all have messed up at one point or another. We have made choices that were bad, even worst, and just downright horrible, but what we have to remember when we do feel this guilt, is that we feel it not because we want to go back, but because we want them to never have to suffer from our decisions. Yet, as they develop and yes, mess up, that guilt also allows you to relate to them. Life is not perfect. Mankind is not perfect. They should never set that standard for themselves.
Through love, we conquer fear, just as we battle our guilt with pride. As much as we may feel responsible for certain situations our children are put into, we should also feel pride in their ability to hand them. I don’t particularly mean the type of pride you have when they hit a home run. It is more of when they show compassion to a classmate who may be struggling, determination when they are met with overwhelming odds, and when they remind us that we are doing a good job by the person they are becoming. To me, I feel the strongest when my son hugs his family goodbye. He doesn’t miss one cousin, aunt, uncle, or grandparent. In his parting, he leaves a lasting sense of warmth and comfort.
So, are you a good parent?
Would your children agree?
There is so much more to being a good parent than even just these four aspects, but If this resonated with you, if you felt a connection, then I promise, the answer will always be yes. You are a good parent.
Cody has been a sports reporter and writer for ten years. His inspiration and motivation have come from all walks of life, including his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.