About a month ago, we celebrated Mother's Day, and this weekend marks the celebration of Father's Day. You know, as we celebrate these two days, we need to reflect back on what a mother and a father really are. It's certainly not an easy task, and there is no "one shoe fits all" when it comes to parenting.
As a high school language arts teacher for 33 years (now at age 67, I consider a life-long educator), I witnessed a lot of parenting skills over those years. Some were exemplary, while others left a lot to be desired. In some instances, it was pretty obvious that there were none. The children were pretty much on their own or already ran the ship, and the parents had long ago given up.
Bottom line was a family with strong family values and solid caring parents led to students who were much better adjusted and easier to teach. They respected authority.
Here is something that has always amazed me about parenting...we pretty much learn parenting skills from our elders (parents-grandparents), other peers, maybe some books or simply by guess and by gosh! While we go to 12 years of schooling, followed by more schooling, there are no prerequisites for being a parent. If we have a child, we are just automatically considered a parent. Really kind of scary isn't it?
As children, parents are our first role models. We look to them for everything. They are our protectors, our everything. A child is born a clean slate and the environment that surrounds the child helps shape what that child becomes as they grow older. Again, I find this kind of scary. It is really a huge commitment and responsibility to be a good parent. That's not to say that good parents don't make mistakes. We are all human, and mistakes are part of life. What is important is that we learn from these mistakes, and try to give our best to our children.
As you read this blog, I ask all of us to take a look at where we are at in life...a child, a parent, a grandparent or great grandparent? If your life has been positively influenced by a parent(s), a grandparent(s) and even a great grandparent(s) and they are still living, reach out to them and thank them. I know it will mean a lot to them.
My own father died nearly 14 years ago, when I was 53 years old. I don't think that a day goes by that I don't rely on some advice or saying that he gave to me. Two of his most memorable quotes were "Take it one day at a time" and "If it's in your row, you gotta' hoe it!" They used to really bug me when I was a teenager. Not the words I wanted to hear back then.
But, oh my how I have used both of them many times as a teacher, coach, father and grandfather.
Happy Father's Day!