After being a non-parent, a teacher, and a parent, I have discovered something: You need perspective. I thought I had it all figured out when I was young. (Why didn’t I make millions then?) But the truth is, the older I get, the more I realize I have NOTHING figured out and I probably never will. How does this apply to parenting?
Like any relationship, I can’t see whats right in front of me sometimes. When my kids were born, my brain kicked in and all those bonding chemicals told me that my child was perfect, beautiful and could do no wrong. Now, I KNOW from experience that all kids are ego-centric, manipulative and… usually, liars. They aren’t all models and they aren’t all naturally intelligent and they just aren’t all perfect. I also know that all kids have strengths, all kids have GREAT things about them and all kids are searching for that one thing that will make them stand out. However, as the parent, it’s hard to see all of that because the love that overwhelms me every time they hug me, every time I see their perfect faces, every time I think about their cute little voices and the things they do just erases every ounce of perspective I could have.
This is not just about the bad stuff. I can’t always see the bad stuff but I can’t always see the good either. It’s hard to pick out a great talent when you think every aspect of your child is perfect. It’s like picking out your favorite part of the Sistine Chapel. HARD!
This is why perspective often times has to come from outside. Of course, I spend more time with my child than anyone else therefore, I know them best but that doesn’t mean that I know everything.
Godly relationships with other parents are invaluable. Those parents see your child in a light you never will. They are looking when you aren’t. They know what to look for because they have kids. Listening to what they have to say and being open to others input on your child’s’ behavior, good or bad, is a great way to get perspective. Don’t discount what others have to say, especially when you can see the fruits of the spirit in them. Listen and be open without taking offense and without over-reacting. Remember, all things in moderation!
It’s not only people with children to whom we should be listening. You should also be listening to those who have healthy godly relationships with other and DON’T have children. These people are few and far between and they have a very unique and important perspective on parenting and child rearing that cannot be discounted. They can really see things from the outside that no parent can. They are relatively impartial and can be trusted to give a Godly and Christlike opinion that should be factored in when you are considering your child’s talents, behavior and growth.
Remember these tips when you are interacting with others at play dates, at school or when you are just chatting with your girlfriends.