It Is Easier To Build Up a Child Than Than To Repair An Adult

We each make a pledge not to be our parent.  We shake our heads, wondering how smart people could have made so many mistakes. We promise that we will do it right.

I am the king of those promises.  I knew I could do better than my two parents who left school at 16, who bought a house, and who put kids through university on their one wage as mom stayed home. As one of their highly educated offspring, I just knew I could do better.

familyIf you were to ask my three children, now in their 20s, how I have done so far, the grade I receive would depend on the day, if not the hour.  They would range from an A to an F, and if there was something lower, they would offer that up, as well.

They would likely suggest that I am loving and caring, and that I would do anything for them.  They would, also,quickly add that I am a pain in the rear end, that I am not a good listener because I just want to solve the problem; that I am irritating in the extreme because I do not take life seriously enough, while at the same time that I take their lives too seriously; and that I push them to always see the world through a glass more than half-full, when they may have lots of reasons to suggest the opposite. They thank God for their mother to balance me out.

In other words, I am a typical father, just like my dad, and his before him. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

Learning Through Experience

What I do know is that I would have been a better parent had I understood twenty years ago what I know now.  As a fresh, young parent, I knew nothing about the importance of temperament; I knew even less about parenting styles.  So, I spent a lot of time tussling with three high-spirited children trying to package them to satisfy my temperament and my parenting style. It was only in their teens that I began to be able to let go.  Somehow or other (their mom, most likely) they survived and have flourished, and I am proud of who they have become. I was smart enough to listen to my wife, but not everyone has as smart a partner as I.