The Great Gift of Parenthood

Children are their parents’ guests. They come into the space that has been created for them, stay for a while – fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years – and leave again to create their own space. Although parents speak about “our son” and “our daughter,” their children are not their property. In many ways children are strangers. Parents have to come to know them, discover their strengths and their weaknesses, and guide them to maturity, allowing them to make their own decisions.

The greatest gift parents can give their children is their love for each other. Through that love they create an anxiety-free place for their children to grow, encouraging them to develop confidence in themselves and find the freedom to choose their own ways in life.

From Henry Nouwen Daily Meditation eletter

A few weeks ago I started subscribing to this daily email from one of my favorite authors.  Henry Nouwen was a priest that gave up a noted career teaching to go live in a community with developmentally challenged adults.  Many of his writings share about his experience of giving everything he had for the least of these and how much God was able to teach him through this experience.

One of the best moments of my day is while I am laying in bed trying to wake up and I will grab my phone for a few quiet moments of checking email and reading this thought.  It just seems to get my day off on the right foot.

In my daily work I see parents that too often forget this principle of putting their spouse first and showing their children that they love each other and the children don’t rank higher than their parents.  Often the typical hierarchy gets messed up.  The kids quickly learn that they can be in control and they create a chasm between mom and dad.  This is incredible detrimental to the kids but it feels so good to them in the moment because they get what they want.  They have “divided and conquered.”  However, it is also true that they may feel a lot more anxiety if they don’t have the assurance that mom and dad are a team and can’t be pit against one another.

As we journey towards parenthood my first priority is to maintain my relationship with Mike.  To some that sounds crazy but I believe that is what is best for our children.  If we don’t nourish our relationship it becomes very difficult for us to nurture and encourage our children to succeed. Mike and I will be the ones left at home after the children all grow up and leave to start their own families.  I want to “know” him when that day arrives.

One of my closest friends also posted recently about parenting.  If you are interested in reading more you can get to them here. Parenting 101, Parenting 102, Parenting 103, Parenting 104