Dusting Off The Manual
BOSTON (CBS) – Kudos to Kara Baskin of the Boston Globe for her recent piece entitled, “Taking Parenting to Extremes: For Those Caught in the Mommy Wars Cross Fire, a Wish List.”
Search for it, read it and I bet it’ll wash over you as it did me. Her piece offers a sense of vindication, relief and amusement that we old fashioned types and those before us have a pretty cool thing going and we are not alone; we are certainly in the silent majority.
Ms. Baskin fires back at the leggy breast-feeding blond on the cover of Time Magazine along with a bevy of other know-it-alls who seem to believe that parenting is akin to and easy as programming a smart phone. The child rearing manual that we’ve all been using – you know, the one that for a couple hundred thousand years has stood the test of time rather well – is certainly under siege these days. What worked relatively well over the eons (instilling values, allowing for disappointment and knowing that just being present in the life of a child is critical) is, according to Kara and yours truly, very much worth clinging to.
Thank you Kara for pushing back with a boatload of common sense and a healthy sense of humor.
The journalist-mom’s wish list for her child includes such tried and true favorites as hoping she raises someone who realizes that life is unfair sometimes, a child who loses graciously and wins without boasting, a child who says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ for the right reasons, one who knows he’s loved and special but not the center of the universe. There is more terrific stuff here and I urge you to track down the article. Of course, we all know that millions of us parents since time began have crafted similar wish lists. Had that not been the case up to now, we’d be in a lot sorrier shape, as tough as that is to believe.
When it comes to raising a family, there’s no app or download guarantee to success and/or happiness. Bringing kids into this world isn’t easy, never has been nor should it ever be. Each generation has its Dr. Spock or trendy movement such as breastfeeding four-year-olds or employing nanny armies to sub for workaholic moms and dads. What solid parenting takes is a combination of responsibility, patience, honesty, setting the best example you can and being there to love, protect and nurture your children. Even so, as hard as you try, there is no assurance that it will work out. But is there any task in life worth more effort?
Here’s just one thing I’d like to add to Kara’s wish list. When my children someday have little ones of their own, I hope they’ll do what I sometimes did and surprise the little buggers. Yes, it will embarrass them at times, but spontaneity is what keeps life interesting for kids as well as adults. One of the best parenting tips has to be this—just say “I Love You,” without an agenda once in while. Why? Because it feels right. It’ll work wonders…as we all know.