From being abandoned and raised by a grandmother, who in turn never knew her father I inherited a mixed bag of parenting skills.
What parent doesn’t try to do improve on their childhood? For me that’s led to a number of unfinished Airfix kits, and perhaps two of my kids being unhappy at school. It now seems obvious that trying to better one’s own legacy risks missing what different people need thirty years on, risks missing the wood for the trees.
In lieu of a positive example, I wouldn’t recommend fathering from fantasy and a handful of rose tinted memories. Yet, we are where we are, forced to play the hand we’re dealt. But that’s no excuse for not keeping things moving in the right direction, for not progressing and learning – “If you do as you’ve always done, don’t be surprised if you get what you’ve always got.”
Getting older involves trading many things, like working knees, for perspective and insight. On balance, it’s maybe not a bad deal, and renewal is wonderful, but the irony of watching the same negative recurring patterns is hard to bear. We live in an age that worships youth and looks, where wisdom and experience are confronted by lols and emoji speak, where truth and conviction are challenged by “post-truth” shape shifting, shenanigans.
I’ve come to think parenting should change as children grow, from the explicit to the implicit, and in teenage years, to stealth and example.
Namaste and on this day thanks to mothers too – without whom…