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
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.