Being A Parent

We give birth to children and it is safe to say that they come whether we as the parents are fully ready or not.  Children arrive in our lives before we are fully mature, have finished our healing, have become stable in careers, know our life purpose, etc.  So our children join us wherever we are on our journey - with all its ups and downs.  We as parents are in process as people when children come into our lives, and they then are born to us while we are unfinished business ourselves.

In addition, I never gave birth to any child that came with an instruction manual.  Since this is always the case, there is clearly much trial and error in the process of raising children.  No matter how many children you may have, each of them are very unique individuals and require different approaches to meet the varying needs.  I think it is impossible to be a parent and not make a lot of mistakes along the way.  As I have "matured" I am abundantly aware that this was the case with my parenting.  The ways that I may have failed as a parent are some of those things I am most deeply regret.  However, most of these mistakes were made out of not knowing how to do better at the time - never out of a lack of caring.

When children are small, meeting their needs for food, shelter, attention, entertainment and affection are relatively easy to meet.  These early years filled with wonder as the child grows and becomes.  However, as they mature to be strong independent personalities the requirements of being the parent become much more challenging.  Seldom do we get the opportunity to raise a child without some difficulties before they leave the family nest.  The test of any parent/child relationship is how well they both weather these internal storms in the long term.  I have often thought that the most difficult of our children teaches us the most.

Invariably children grow up, often not because of us, but in spite of us.  But it is we as the parent, who actually gets the bulk of the learning out of this journey.  There is no other method that calls for giving so much of yourself - that is if you are a truly committed parent.  You don't know what you will be asked to do or be when a child comes into your life, but the journey will leave you changed in significant ways.  There is no other relationship that requires giving of yourself so unselfishly to the benefit of another.  No other relationship that will require being a mentor, having patience, compassion, holding close and letting go, tap your strength and commitment in so many ways.

It is also the relationship that transcends all others in the unique way that it opens and transforms the heart.  It is such a unique connection - that of parent to child - from the moment you hold the baby in your arms you are hooked - heart and soul.  All of our hopes and dreams come alive in our children.  They are our pride and our passion and their gifts and accomplishments bring joy beyond measure.  Because of the way being a parent affects the heart there is no other relationship that can cause such deep heart pain as does crisis with our children.

Children are not any more perfect than their parents and in any family there may be difficulties parent to child, and among the family siblings.  In these situations it becomes the parent's responsibility to teach by example compassion, acceptance and offer mediation and wisdom.  Even if you have been the best of parents there is never a guarantee that your child will grow up to be a contributing member of society.  We all have free will to choose - even our children.  I know parents who are good people, tried hard to be good parents and yet their children made choices that very negatively affected their lives.  There is never a guaranteed outcome no matter how dedicated we are to being a caring, involved parent.

Being a parent is a lifelong commitment.  Just because your children grow up doesn't mean you are done being a parent.  In the best case scenario adult children can grow to be our closest friends and supporters.  Even in less than desirable relationships with adult children, we can never shirk our responsibility of being the parent and offer our wisdom, support and opportunities for inclusion and acceptance.

The hardest job in the world is being a parent.  You are quite literally responsible for shaping a new life, for teaching values and preparing them to be productive, honorable, compassionate and independent members of society.  In the process you become shaped, changed, enriched and expanded in so many ways.  If you have indeed been lucky enough to have contributed in any way to help your child grow into a person that is a healthy, stable, responsible, contributing, caring and giving person then you will know the pride that comes from being the parent of such a child.  I am the parent of six such amazing people and am truly blessed to be able to call them my children.

In peace............Margie