I’ve always said that parenting is an art, not a science. As
parents, if we knew exactly the right thing to do at every moment,
we would just do it, move on, save the worrying and raise
amazing kids that contribute vast amounts of positivity to society,
enjoy extreme success, and live happily ever after.
After 18 years of parenting, with my oldest headed to college next
year at TCU, and two brothers and a sister behind her, I know full
well that it isn’t the case. We can do our best to make decisions
with the utmost love and care, but the results of so many of our
actions don’t show up for years. For this reason, when my kids
were still very little, I constructed a philosophy to fall back on that
helps me see beyond the situation at hand and focus on the
larger impact I am trying to make as a parent. When faced with a
situation or decision for one of them, I look for the character trait
that I am trying to instill. Is a situation presenting itself so that she
can learn to be more patient, compassionate, brave, or one of the
various other virtues that make up character? Character is at the
root of all good human formation and knowing what we want to
teach helps us see past the situation at hand and look at the
bigger picture that shapes our story.
As my kids have gotten older, I have moved away from the
“because I said so” mentality and try to teach them what I am
about and why I make certain decisions. Although sometimes
they might not like what I decide, they understand the why behind
what I have chosen. Sometimes it requires a little more time for the
understanding to happen, but there is no greater gift than when I
see my child understand my story and me understand him.
Parenting in community, people of like minds with strong
voices…come share your stories. We're all trying to figure it out and it's the
hardest and important job out there.