Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Yesterday's discussion with the kids started me thinking about my own views of parenting, specifically with regard to the question, "What makes a good parent?"

To be honest, the answers of my flock of barely-still-shorter-than-me people took me a bit by surprise. By the sounds of it you might gather the impression that our family is a wayward band of materialistic junk food junkies who do nothing but play outside all day. {Bravo! Marvelous indeed!}

If I actually had the control over them I'd like to wish I could exert, I'd surely have them state the virtues of their father and I in a far more flattering manner. They would eloquently speak of read aloud nights spent by the fire, home cooked meals made from scratch, and the encouragement they receive to delve wholly into the fullness of who they can become as individual and collective contributing members of society at large. But alas, I've never quite been capable of reigning them in and brainwashing them enough to fit what I may fancy.

Anyway, I started wondering, what would I say makes a good parent? Then, all the amazing, generous, hard working, self sacrificing, dutiful, fun, apt to teach, patient and kind parents I know came to mind and I was flooded with gratitude for each and every one of the children who have the privilege of residing in these families.

I began to ponder the unique vibe each family takes on as they live out and instate their own personal values.

It seems to me there must be a million and one ways to be a good parent.

Good parents work outside the home. Good parents work exclusively  within the home. Good parents sit at sporting events for hours on end and good parents observe chess matches. Good parents cook at home, and good parents serve cereal for supper. Good parents drive through. Good parents enroll their kids in public school, private school, charter school, and home school. Good parents eat meat. Good parents are vegetarian. Good parents instill values. Good parents provide space for children to seek their own values. Good parents reign their children in. Good parents set their children toward soaring. Good parents drive carpool and walk their kids to school and sign them up for art classes and good parents refrain from extracurricular activities, opting for time at home instead. Good parents are single moms and single dads and parents co-parenting in unison as they divide time. Good parents spend a great deal of money on their kids, good parents spend very little. Good parents sing gorgeous songs while they play instruments and good parents can't carry a tune to save their lives. Good parents read to their kids and good parents let their kids read to them. Good parents teach math. Good parents hire tutors to teach math. Good parents live in apartments and in houses and in the city and in the country. Good parents allow their kids soda and good parents don't.

Good parents grow tired of the repetitive grind. They weary of the mess. They forget the days and years are fleeting. They run out of patience, they apologize. Good parents lose sight of their priorities from time to time, only to gratefully regain it again, sometimes each day. They fail and fall short and stumble and falter because good parents are human beings doing the best they can in any given moment.

Good parents have whole slews of kids and good parents have only one child and good parents have fur babies.

They are conservative and liberal and tattooed and not. They are heavily invested in politics or not at all. They wear skirts or jeans or yoga pants or career attire. They are examples of grace or modesty or goofiness or courage or funkiness or athleticism or intellectualism or playfulness or civility. They model reverence. They model humorous irreverence. They step into themselves and they teach their kids to do the same.

There is a great, big, vast array of liberating variety allotted in this most sacred role of parenthood. It is a task equal to none other where extraordinary uniqueness can be fostered, where strength lies within the specific individual preferences regarding what makes a large or small family unit thrive.

Good parents are devoted to their children and committed to their children's best interests. Simply.

It is a beautiful, beautiful broad thing.


Speaking of which, Big grandpa with one of my very own fur babies, Jedi. {Heart}

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