By Bernadette A. Moyer
There is no greater opportunity for love like the love a parent has for their child.
“Parental love is a limited reflection of a limited love. In the experience of parental love I was wounded as were you, and every other human being. Most parents are the best and the greatest, but in the human experience, parents are also very broken people.” Henri J.M. Nouwen
I am always intrigued by how parents speak about their children and equally intrigued about how children speak about their parents. Parents aren’t perfect and neither are their offspring.
The kids that profess to come from the “perfect family” alarm me as much as the ones who declare they are a product of the “worst family” I suspect neither to be 100% true.
In a recent news story three tiger cubs band together as their mother’s maternal instincts fail. It was a first time mother in a zoo and the staff there is tasked with nurturing the baby cubs. The vet says that they won’t re-introduce the mother because she won’t recognize them. There was no bonding that took place. Most mothers could never imagine this and yet it happens, it also happens that offspring reject their parents.
Most parents would literally kill for their children, hurt the child and suffer the parental consequences.
John has a grown daughter that he once loved dearly and would have killed for, today they are estranged. His feelings have changed. Now he states, “she is not a good person, I don’t like her and how she acts” it is hard to imagine how he could feel one way and then the exact opposite way.
He says, “I have feelings too” in reference to the things that she has said about him and done to him.
We all witness the Trump family and the adult children that seem to have such a close and loving relationship with their father. Whether you like him or not, he maintains close, loving and supportive relations with all his kids.
When my own daughter became a teenager and started acting out like so many teenagers do, it was the first time that I saw her through different lenses. In her behaviors I witnessed her father who was deceased before her third birthday and although not around she had many of his traits and characteristics.
Parents are people with the same wide range of feelings as all others and kids can make their parents proud as easily as they can disappoint them. Parents find joy in their children and they also suffer sadness and grief because of them too. It is no different than any other relationship.
Maybe we expect too much from our kids and therefore can be disappointed. I think the best place to be is where I am today. My children are all adults aged 25 to 36 and I no longer view them as a reflection of myself or my parenting but rather as their own unique individuals.
There is such freedom in having adult children that you are no longer responsible for and you can do as much as you want with them and for them or as little as you choose.
Today I view parenting as though the gift is and was in the giving and like any gift if it was well received all the better but my part was solely as the parent that gave the gift of parenting.
Parenting is an awesome responsibility and it is not an exact science. Most all of us go into it wanting and doing our very best. Where the outcomes may be different the tasks, responsibilities, love, commitment and efforts involved in parenting are all so similar.
“There is nothing wrong with the pleasure that comes from a big meal, a sexy night, or victory on the playing field — but it is fleeting. Raising kids, working through marriage troubles, and volunteering at a soup kitchen may be less pleasurable, but these pursuits provide fulfillment – a sense that you’re the best person you can be.”
From LOVE THAT BOY by Ron Fournier
Happy parenting and happy being the best that you can be …
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