I Wanna Be a Better Parent

2 Feb

Jerry Seinfeld notes that it is odd that our Statue of Liberty seeks out the “losers.” The statue reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, Tempest-tossed to me!” One of the great things about this country is that there is no respect of persons. Being born a peasant does not necessarily relegate you to such a situation throughout life.

That is a wonderful thing in so many respects. At the same time, you would think that maybe they should have said, “Give me your energetic, your rich, those who are able to lead, the tremendously talented are among those which, this land would be blessed to be ceded.” Then we could revel in a country whose very existence was buttressed by a great people. But I digress.

The wonderful thing about America is we have taken these huddled masses (wretched refuse) and become the greatest country in the world. And the thing is everyone wants to leave a better life for their children. As a father, I want my kids to have a better life. Unfortunately, that often leads to the tension of my wanting to do things for them and wanting them to learn for themselves. You see, I have unfortunately learned that trying to make their lives easier now may lead to a more difficult life down the road.

As much as I want to protect them, I need to make my primary consideration that they grow to be the people that God has called them to be. In his book Front Porch Tales, Philip Gulley tells a story of a man who beat his tree with a newspaper each day. While that may seem a bit extreme, his tree developed deep roots. I want my children to grow these deep roots.

Unfortunately, mom and dad will not always be around to make sure the kids make the correct decision. I must hope that I raise them in such a way that they will be good, productive adults. And the exciting thing is that God thought that Kelly and I were the perfect people to do that for Jacob, Emily, and Julia! Fortunately for me I am years away from my children growing up, but a little every day they are getting bigger and more self-reliant.

Because my work in the Florida Quizzing Association and Smith Prep, I see a variety of parents who care about a variety of different things, some of which I think are wonderful ideas that I will attempt to emulate, while others are so strange, I want to call my sister to laugh about them. At any rate, there are as many different parenting styles as there are parents, and that is difficult. Because while everyone thinks they are the perfect parent with the perfect balance, they are all missing something obvious.

I have been told recently that my parenting skills are deficient, and while I can completely accept that in the theoretical realm, I struggle with it a little more in the actual realm. But in order for me to benefit from that (perhaps correct) critique, I need specifics. One thing I have learned is that I do not want to “lean on my own understanding.” So, as much as I hate being criticized (just like the next guy), please let me know where my faults are. I am ready to learn!

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One Response to “I Wanna Be a Better Parent”

  1. Jenni May 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    I want Abs and Sam to have an easy life, but I also want them to be great people. I think I have realized about me that the part of me that desires ease for them is actually mostly desiring it for me because even if hard times make them better and prove redemption in their lives, I am not sure I will be able to watch them go through hard times in a stable manner. Sigh… Parenting took all of the most noble and most cowardly elements of me and put them in BOLD.

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