So far, most of the parents I have chatted with have very young children. They are just starting out in their crazy hectic amazing journey that is parenthood and with that has come some interesting reflection. A few of the parents I have spoken with shared their growing awareness of how someday their children will no longer see them as this fabled hero that can do no wrong, but as a person. One that comes with flaws.
“When a child is first introduced to the concept of God he thinks of a 10,000 ft version of his dad. So all my strengths and my weaknesses will be magnified. Which is scary. So things that I say and do are really important.”
For me, this type of realization has come in the form of my day-to-day actions and habits. I want my children to emulate my best characteristics, my best self. This has taken the form of eating healthier (note the ‘er’, I could really only go up in this area), being active with the kids even when I felt like being a lazy ass on the couch, displaying good social skills (I’m not the best with small talk but I don’t want my kids to shy away from meeting new people). Through making all of these conscious decisions every day I’ve learned that I had room to grow. Could I even say, without throwing up a little, that I might be a better person now than before having kids? Perhaps. More likely I’m an improved version.
One of my mom pals shared a similar thought:
“It’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. You realize all of your bad habits when you become a parent. Like snacking. Now I have to sneak my cookies so the kids don’t see it and I don’t get caught. I don’t drink soda, because they want it. They watch you. The way you talk to people. It’s a lot to think about.”
It was good to hear I wasn’t the only one sneaking things behind my kid’s back!
Another father shared his reflection:
“I worry about him liking me. I got along with my dad to an extent but as I became an adult and a dad myself I saw everything that was wrong. I hope my kids don’t have that kind of resentment and discontent with me. I worry about that.”
This certainly hit home for me. I had not considered the fact that at some point my children will grow up and be adults (Yikes!). They might have kids themselves someday and I wondered what they will recall of their upbringing. I’m sure it will be nothing short of a glowing recollection of precious childhood memories. But what about the big stuff? How I handled tough situations. Did I teach them the life lessons they needed to be successful in their lives?
Only time will tell, but this realization of my kids having an adult life someday certainly gave me pause. And some anxiety. But eventually feelings settled and I rested with a sense of obligation to do my best. BE MY BEST. And the rest will work itself out.