Today’s Poetry Type:
Honesty can obscure
The artistry of relating
Doses of fantasy are essential
To lace the ties that deeply bind
Accepting each as is
One of the very first pieces of parenting advice I ever received came while I was still pregnant for my first child. It was delivered by our midwife.
“However much you think you know who this baby is, you don’t.”
I thought I understood her at the time – but I didn’t. I thought my baby was mine to mold and shape; that, if I did everything just right, I could assure that he would be “a good baby,” then, later, “a good boy.”
When he was seven, I read this life-changing advice:
In other words, our kids are who they are, as much as we are who we are. The manner in which we raise them does help to shape them, but it’s not the way we might think, if we follow the advice contained in the mainstream parenting magazines. We shape them instead by how well we see them, how well we honor those things which are immutable parts of their nature, how well we help them to become, not the people we want them to be, but instead, the best possible versions of the people they already are.
It creates a very different type of parent/child interaction. Rather than a determined structure of rules and punishments, chores and required activities, we have relationships. When there’s friction, we do what we can to work it out. We accept that some things take time – children, even older ones, aren’t adults. They don’t always have the same ability to predict consequences or control their impulses that we do, as their parents, and they don’t yet have the scope and perspective only age and experience can bring…
But they are also, in many ways, far more capable than I expect.
More – living this way, accepting the children as they are, allows me to see them and support them better in these last years of childhood, when they are growing and changing at an incredible pace. By focusing on seeing them and relating to them as they are, I’m better able to surf along with the rapid changes, and treat them in a way that doesn’t insult or unnecessarily hamper them.