Being a parent takes a lot of grit and patience. Each day will present a new challenge whether you’re just now becoming a first-time parent and learning the basics of caring for a newborn or handling those in-between years when your child is rebellious and seeking their individuality. Your children will test you to your limits.
One of the things that have stuck with me is the idea that we’re all just “making it up as we go”. We can read countless articles on parenting. We can take classes. We can seek help from professionals. But in the end we are all learning as we go. However, it’s worth the effort. It’s worth taking in as much advice as you can and trying different techniques when raising a child because what worked for your parents may be completely different for you.
At the end of the day, if you did a good job at parenting, it’ll show. Sometimes it may not be readily apparent that your child appreciates the little things you do (or some of the sacrifices you had to make) but as they age things come around.
It’s the little actions you can do that can lead to a rewarding life for your child (and for you):
• Teaching them the fundamentals of finances so they’re not troubled with it later in life
• Distilling the importance of higher education to create greater opportunities
• Conveying the need for empathy and acceptance to give them a good spirit
It’s hard to say what a “good parent” is by definition. Instead, I believe it’s seen through their actions. And this is especially so when you see how the child develops. How they appreciate their family. How they make their mark on the World.
Sometimes it’s the little things they do that brings you happiness:
• Perhaps they’ve moved out of the nest to attend college. There you are, back in Portland or some other city, and around comes Mother’s Day. You expect a call but instead you get a knock at the door and its flowers. In their minds they said “show your love” on this special day and something as simple as flowers really nailed it. It’s a little gesture but it’s bound to bring a warm smile to your face even when they are afar.
• Perhaps it’s when they graduate from their college or finally made it in their craft or business. You gave them the motivation to pursue something of difficult and they ran with it. They’re carving out their own niche in the World. It’s a wonderful thing to see your child succeed. It’s also great knowing they will be well off for when they plan to start a family of their own.
• Perhaps it’s an appreciation of time spent together and so they do it frequently. They may have shown some rebellion and wanted to be away but as they’ve aged they’ve come to realize the importance of spending time with you. They’re calling you often. They’re swinging by unexpectedly. They’re making plans to visit for the holidays. Now they’re mature. This starts a whole new level of relationship with your children and it’s quite amazing if you raised them well because with them they’ll bring lots of great stories, insights, and ideals whenever you sit down, reminisce, and talk about the future.
Like it was mentioned – it does feel like everyone is just kind of playing it as it goes. But the great thing about being flexible in your parenting is that you can raise your child rather than trying to mold them into someone they’re not. Give them respect, appreciation, love, and personal space and they’ll come back with more love than you can imagine. This is the real unexpected happiness you’ll find from good parenting. It may take some years to show … but it’s worth it in the end.