Where Does The Beginning Start?

Very off topic, but I guess that there hasn’t exactly been an organized flow of topic.  After all, I am just beginning.  Or, am I?  Many people may disagree, but I believe that part of any process is the thinking and imagining part. Over the weekend,  I got to thinking about where my project really got started.  

Truly, this project started with my sons.  Everywhere I look, thoughts of my sons are part of what I see.  Sure, some places (for example, the shelf in the picture right over there) are clear in what memories are held.  Look closely, zoom in… do you see the dust?  Those little keepsake memories are treasured, but also dusty.  Sometimes our treasures do become dusty in our minds, too.  That doesn’t mean they are less important.

Here is where my thoughts zoomed far away from a relevant topic for this blog.  Too bad.

I have been trying and trying to find teammates to work with on this project, but haven’t been successful yet.  I am not a good team member or good at building teams.  I was listening to my son talk about something he is getting ready to do, and was completely in awe of how amazing he is at building relationships with people.  No matter where he has lived in his adult life, he makes these great group of friends.  Good friends, the kind that depend on him and the kind that he can depend on.  I was wondering aloud how he does that, and the discussion was informative in more ways than I expected.

Over and over, I am reminded that the process of parenting has taught me so much more than I ever could have hoped to teach my children.  Often, when I am engaging in parent coaching or parenting classes, the adults I am speaking with are looking for ways to manage the behavior of their children.  Hey, I get it, for our sanity it sure does matter to be able to find ways to get our children to cooperate.  The whole “it is like herding cats” problem.

Here is a secret – parenting might just come down to how you feel about the human being you are becoming.  When you look in the mirror as you wash your face at night (right?  You clearly have time to do a whole skin care regimen every night), are you proud of the human being you are?  I bet there are a lot of mommies and daddies who don’t feel too proud of the way they handled everything, everyday.  Guess what?  If you messed up, and you feel badly about it, you learned something!  You gained an opportunity to do something different tomorrow.

Your kids may have broken things, hit people, refused to share, had a total melt down in a store, threw their homework across the table, spit their food out…maybe just a little unkind action.  How did you respond?  THAT is the part that matters.  They will grow up to be like you.

Or will they?

Being a parent taught me about true unconditional love, patience, trust, vulnerability as a strength, and genuine compassion. As a parent, I continue to learn about hope, belief, endurance, and joy.  Sound familiar?

I do believe that, in essence, our children will pretty much grow up to be like us.  They aren’t a reflection of us, they are their own individuals, but they will take on some of our characteristics, values, ethical standards, work habits, and such.  Sometimes it can even be a little painful to see our own behaviors exhibited by our children.  At first, when they growl at someone or act selfishly, we may ignore the fact that there have been lots of times that we snapped at them or that our needs came before theirs.  But we will grow…



See, the thing is, no matter what we try to teach our children through trying to mold their behavior with discipline strategies and habit building charts, they are really learning through their own observations and experiences in the world.  We are, at first, what they are primarily observing.  When they are tiny babies, they learn all about our faces and our expressions.  It is likely that our children know our faces, and the way we move, better than anyone else in the world knows us.  If we smile when we are sad or angry, they will note the difference of a real smile verses a genuine pleased smile.  And, as they get bigger, they will call us out when we aren’t being authentic.  They are learning from us and about us, to be sure.  And they will carry that with them.  Meanwhile, we are learning about ourselves…from them.

This is what I find amazing and inspiring.  I have been a far from perfect parent.  Some of the mistakes I have made still embarrass and sadden me.  So, how have my kids turned out so great?

If I think of my husband and I each as “the parts”, somehow our children have become better than the two parts.  They are a perfect example of the whole (they are each, individually, their own whole) being greater than the sum of the parts.

We are all so fortunate to have generations of people to have learned from.  Sometimes even just by negative example.  In my own life, I have kind and ethical, hardworking, generous parents.  Our family has been lucky enough to also share extended time with grandparents, and get to know them well and learn from their ideas and examples. Even with all of those resources, it is my own children who teach me so much.  Being a parent taught me about true unconditional love, patience, trust, vulnerability as a strength, and genuine compassion. As a parent, I continue to learn about hope, belief, endurance, and joy.  Sound familiar?

This project started years ago when I became a parent.  Because it is a child related, parenting, and caregiver project.  I am finally realizing that a hiccup, for me, in finding teammates is because my children and spouse are the greatest teammates I have.  However, we are all individuals with our own individual passions.  

The project has a new chapter, one in which I learn to do things with their support, but not necessarily practical help.  Perhaps they will help in more practical ways, but for now, their help is in their words and thoughts they share with me.

And I keep going, building, looking for teammates, and learning.