• Steve Berlack

They're Not Promised

Parenting is the hardest job in the world. Period.

One of the most difficult aspects of parenting is walking the fine line

between being your children’s confidant, and their disciplinarian. There’s a

very fine line between going crazy because they keep running up and down

the stairs and making a racket, and smiling as they present you with the

picture they drew of you when you weren’t looking, your heart warming

as your face blushes because you were just about to get on them for that

broken family heirloom....

You beam with pride as your child takes off for the fi rst time on his/her

new bike, free and independent. Then you try to make sense of your crazy,

mixed emotions as you realize that your children don’t like the games/

sports/things you did as a kid, and would much rather do (input anything

that you loathed at the same age).

Children are every real parent’s greatest joy. And every real parent’s greatest

frustration. I say every real parent’s frustration because real parents care

enough to go through that emotion behind their children’s actions. Even

if they don’t ever want to admit how truly frustrated they are. Children

are frustrating because, as their parent, it matters to you when you try to

explain something fundamental to their survival and well-being, but they

completely ignore your advice/command and do their own thing so that

they may experience life for themselves. How many of you know the kid

that ignored your warning and burned her hand on the stove because she

touched the fire anyway?

And then there’s the teenage years. It’s difficult, to say the least, to give

advice to someone who looks like you, lives in your house, and eats your

food, while overtly rebelling against everything you hold sacred and dear.

How many parents have asked themselves: “Was I that bad as a kid?” How

many parents have made that phone call to mom and dad because they just

have to get confirmation: “Did I really do all that when I was little?” How

many parents sat embarrassed and annoyed when Grandma and Grandpa

gave out the snickering “I told you so’s!”?

And here’s the kicker: no matter how old your children grow, no matter

how many children they have, and no matter how many children their

children have, they will always be your little boys and girls. They will

always be your children. Though finally wise enough to seek your advice

(go figure!) with careers, homes, cars and retirement plans, they’re still the

little kids you remember riding off on their bikes so many decades ago.

So parents, when you’re feeling frustrated, when your child is standing in

front of you and telling that flat-out fib: “No Daddy, of course I didn’t go

to the mall, because remember how you told me I couldn’t go this week?”,

just remember one thing. Your children were not promised to you. You

could have had any other children. And you could have been any other

child’s parent.

Remember, you and your children are together for a reason. You’re all

learning, loving and teaching each other. They are your greatest blessing.

And if you need a little private comfort, remember too: if you do your job

as a real parent, they are just as frustrated with you.

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