For anyone involved in raising a child…or if you just might one day

Yesterday was a tough day for me. Not the entire day, but a good portion of it, as I truly struggled with being the father of two young girls. I am sharing this, not for any sympathy, but just in case anyone reading this has gone through the same thing at some point or another. Or perhaps you may experience something similar one day.

Without directly trying to do such a thing, I have been constantly comparing my two children. Their successes, their failures, their attitudes, and especially their effort. This is a dilemma that I have toiled with for about three years now. The girls are two years apart with quite different maturity levels and with their own unique talents and “perspectives.”

girls and pumpkins

What I have been doing is UNFAIR, and it is very bad parenting. Why I actually do it is beyond me. I always tell them (and myself) that I want to give them a better life than I had as a child. That I want to give them more opportunities. That I want them to have a real chance to experience some amazing things. But those are the easy answers. Anyone can use them as excuses.

I love them equally. I really do. I was fortunate to actually get to deliver both of them. Experiences I will never forget.

They are the TWO MAIN REASONS that drive me towards a life of value.

If I continue this trend of comparison, I will not only be hated, but my children are sure to grow apart — and for me — their friendship with one another is the most important. I know firsthand what it means to have a sibling that I have no CONNECTION with.

I preach being free of bias and to not judge others, yet I am doing it to my own children. To judge a child is a violent crime. I keep focusing on effort, discipline, control and many other things, yet these are just young children. Perhaps I am displacing my own failures in life upon them.

I worry about their futures and this thing known as “entitlement.” I am exposing them to music, sports, and other activities. I am trying to let them experience the great things in this world. But yet I critique their each and every move. There is no one to blame but me.

Many parents try to focus on what the schools and coaches are teaching their children. It is not the time at school and practice that matters most, it is the time with you and what you say to them and teach them that will leave the most profound impact.

I know I will not be able to completely change course overnight, but I am ready to start. It will definitely be a PROCESS. I want to be significant in their lives, not an OBSTACLE.

Positive talk. Love. Teaching. Supporting. Not breaking them down. Not pushing too hard. Letting them be children.

If you remember only one thing about my writing today, remember this:

“The destiny of a child lies in his or her parent’s hands.”

This can mean many things. It really means EVERYTHING.

Thanks for taking the time to listen today. I hope that my rude awakening with HUMILITY has added some perspective to your own life.

One Comment on “For anyone involved in raising a child…or if you just might one day

  1. Hey Jason, Stop being so hard on yourself. How can a loving parent parent not compare their younger child to the older one in hopes that the younger one learns from the older one and does even better than the 1st one is doing.
    I think that since you are starting from the perspective of what you would like them to experience, be exposed to, be allowed to choose their areas of involvement, and be loved for who they are, you’re doing just fine. RELAX young Dad, but a little humility goes a long way as a parent. As you know from your sports background, as long as we can look back and say we did our best (given our unique situation), we can be satisfied!! I rest my case! Be Well, BG

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