I love to discover quotes and mold them to fit my life experiences. Since the bulk of my days consist of herding the preschooler and the toddler through the many hurdles of childhood, most of my personal interpretations of quotes involve what I can do to be a better mother and how I can become a more well-rounded human being. When I consider some of the following, I have immediate feedback.
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” –Thumper, “Bambi”
“Be thoughtful.” It is one thing to be overly critical of ourselves as parents, but entirely another to be unnecessarily scathing to another parent. Each of the more than seven billion people on our planet potentially has their own circles of purpose that contain likes, fears, beliefs, morals, feelings, emotions, preferences, habits, and knowledge bases. Rarely will two people act the exact same way in any given situation, especially within the definitive confines of the human condition, complex and layered, known as parenthood.
What one thinks in their minds is their business, particularly if dissenting. Once it gets out from the brain verbally into the universe, however, those thoughts can become faultfinding and unfair, arrogant and worthless, bigger out loud, simply because of all the intricacies mentioned above. If a person believes a mother in her group wears revealing shirts, no good comes out of gossiping about that mother, who may not have purchased clothing that fits properly in years to be able to feed her family every night. If a person believes a father in his group is too uptight and constantly criticizes his son, no good comes out of threatening that father, who may be suffering from a traumatic childhood himself and is in therapy to come out of it clean. We don’t know the struggles of others.
“To thine own self be true.” –Polonius, “Hamlet”
“Be authentic.” One should not attempt to present a parenting persona that cannot be sustained. It’s not healthy to “pretend.” It is quite alright to embrace our authenticity as parents and to watch our children develop their own. If a father is not specifically handy or has no interest in sports, yet can create a delicious turkey dinner, his son will not automatically avoid physical activity, and cook instead, later in life. If a mother cannot boil an egg, but teaches martial arts or spends her days closing deals, this does not mean that her daughter could not become a world-class chef or a cancer-curing scientist someday.
Not only do stories become exhausting and inevitably too time-consuming to preserve, but children tend to notice a counterfeit personality, particularly when the message translates to “Deception is okay.” Teaching the freedoms of sincerity and integrity give our children permission to reach their fullest, most honest potentials. Our children will not miss out with the globe at their fingertips; they will, however, miss a parent if that “real” parent is absent.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” –Wayne Gretzky
“Be brave.” Parenting is one of the greatest adventures of existence and must be approached like any other physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding task. Try. Introduce new concepts or new vegetables or new exercises. New everything. Much their own little minds of free will, children can come to be nurtured into “I like that” or “No, thank you.”
Parents should also not expect flat-out success or failure. It is alright to lose some battles; sometimes, a child will only want potato chips for dinner or want to play in the bathtub long after the water is removed. However, the sustainability is in the marathon. Usually, raising decent, good-natured human beings is the sublime goal for a parent. The little progressions towards that result are a solid focus.
“When one door closes, another opens.”–Alexander Graham Bell
“Be versatile.” The world is reshaping every day as we revolve the sun each year, so we must be willing to adapt to change as seamlessly as possible while bypassing any level of endangerment to our values. It is essential to recognize when the time has arrived to move on in any capacity. Just as seasons blend and evolve and fade, so do relationships and redundancies and responsibilities.
Within the parenthood sphere, our children are growing ever closer to the people they will ultimately become. Consequently, what worked yesterday may not work today or tomorrow. Naps get shorter; eating habits shift; new interests emerge. Our daughters suddenly want nail polish instead of dolls; our sons express the desire to shave one random day. Our daughters go to the prom; our sons drive themselves to campus. Though some changes can be a lot to swallow for many parents, they always give way to something completely different, which is the foremost vein of humanness.