Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Good Reminder of Our Ultimate Goal as Parents

I do alot of reading and probably spend too much time reading informational books. I do try to vary things from time to time but with a kiddo with ADHD, I need all the help I can get! It is what it is right? So, for help with my business I picked up Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." I have found this book to be exceptional for everyday inerpersonal interactions. It makes some amazing points that I find myself recalling and putting to use not minutes later. He uses alot of people's mistakes and strengths to drive his points home. There was a particular article that he re-counted that I can't get out of my head and I hope that in giving credit where credit is due I am okay to post that article on my blog today because it will definitely change your day if not your life.

Father Forgets
by W. Livingston Larned
 
"Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen in your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltly I came to your bedside.
 
There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded  you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.
 
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye, Daddy!" and I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders back!"
 
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive-and if you had to buy them  you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!
 
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in this library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesistated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.
 
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
 
Well, son, it was shortly aftereward that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding - this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.
 
And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedisde in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!
 
It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is nothing but a boy - a little boy!"
 
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much."
 
 
 
If someone asked you what your ultimate goal as parent was, what would you say? That they turn out respectable? That they are motivated, driven and responsible? Would it be that they are trustworthy? Kind and selfless? Empathetic? I would hope all of these. In all of the lessons learned from therapists and books I have read about parenting, the most important point is that the relationship comes first. Why? Because kids are still their own person, make their own choices, follow their own path and you can either still be friends and have influence on them if they choose a different path for themselves than you would choose, or you can fight them for the time they are at home and eventually lose them altogether. I love my kids and regardless of where they end up, I want them to always know I love them for who are they are and my door is always open when they need me. If we have a relationship, they will never turn that open door away. As I walk this journey of parenthood, I have to constantly ask myself which battles are important to wage to win the war, but more than anything, what really is most important and invaluable?

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this Brittany! Today in the midst of packaging paper and cardboard boxes I felt like this father. I know I expect a lot from our kids and I think that's okay, as long as it ispresented in a positive light. Tomorrow I'm setting an unpacking time-line with built in breaks and a specific stopping point. I lean on these boys as if they are men, but after all, they are just kids!!
    xo

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    1. Thanks Shannon! How did the move go? I hope you are starting to settle in and everything is going okay! Looking forward to being in regular contact with the IsaDerby! xoxo Brittany

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