I have been parenting for over 30 years.  Some might say, “Wow, you must be an expert!”  I am not sure about that, but I know I have definitely evolved as a parent, so I am thinking that makes me an evolving expert?  To evolve means to come forth gradually into being.  An expert is someone who is trained by practice, a person with a special skill.

I have never met a parent who knew what they were doing when they started.  Many of us read books, thought we might have a clue and knew we would “NEVER do what MY parents” did, but that is the extent of it, if honest.  There is no easy way. Learning to be a parent is an evolutionary process and takes practice. Parenting is an opportunity to be a life-long learner.

A parent goes from learning to change a diaper to learning to relate to a pubescent boy or girl.  Parenting is a journey, not a destination.  As we evolve in our expertise, there are principles that are permanent, love being the primary.

The principle of love is real and is lived out as individuals learn and grow together. Love evolves in practice as we learn to speak the love language of our child. Does our child respond to a hug or to words of encouragement?  Is love heard through a gift given unexpectedly or an act of service like cleaning their room instead of complaining about it? It can take time to learn to speak your child’s language, but love is never pointless. I have learned nine different languages in my parenting journey.  Sometimes it was like I was speaking Japanese to someone from Spain.

The evolution of love is in the observation of our children. The expertise is in the follow through.  This takes a concerted effort because “stuff” can get in the way of what really matters, relationship with our children. Each of my nine children has similarities, but definite distinctions.

My oldest felt loved when I supported him as he pursued his interest of reptiles. Having things that crawl and escape, get lost and eat other things was not in my parenting description. At one time he had over 30 snakes!  He had birds and various mammals.  We gave the saying, “this place is a zoo”, literal meaning.  One time a Savanna monitor, in other words, a big lizard, got lose in the house.  It was missing for two weeks and was found in the top drawer of a dresser while putting laundry away!  In all honesty, my first response was not, “Oh, how I love my son, I am so glad he loves reptiles.”  It was part of my evolutionary process.  A parent’s love grows when having to step outside of the comfort zone to help our children evolve into the person they were designed to be.

Now that son is grown and has survived two tours to Iraq.  Each day I wondered if he would return home.  The only thing I wanted him to know each and every day, is that he was loved and valued.  I can tell you the “inconveniences” were nothing to secure the relationship.

There are moments of great joy and moments of total frustration, as we evolve in our parenting, but in the end,” love covers a multitude of shortcomings.” We as parents need to be evolving experts in how to love our children. It is an effort that will not be in vain.

I welcome your questions.  Maybe my experience can help and encourage you on your journey.  If you a new mommy or an old mommy, (I was almost 43 when my last child was born), have questions about teenagers or anything else relating to parenting, ask me.  I will share in honesty, without judgment.

 

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