(This article is reprinted from the book I wrote entitled, “My Dearest Children.”)
Instead of Spanish 1, Natural Science 1, or History 101, how I wish schools offered subjects on parenting.
Truly, Parenting 101 should include chapters on baby care, child and teenage psychology. How not to spoil your kids will be helpful for some parents and grandparents. Grandparenting 101, anyone? How not to be too strict would be appropriate for some.
How to hang in the middle is a wire balancing act. It requires actual on-the-job training. There seems to be no possibility of an internship or “practicum” course.
Self-evaluation is usually made only after a bad situation has occurred and after we are faced with “where did I go wrong?” questions. Often times, it is said differently, as in “where did you go wrong?” addressed to the spouse. “Where did we go wrong?” is of course, usually more appropriate.
A major chapter should include handling the family budget and how to tighten your belts for baby’s needs and the growing expenses of having growing up kids.
Let’s all contribute to a book on parenting! Accumulated and compiled, the wisdom we have acquired on parenting could fill up a good section of a school library and be a complete college course syllabus!
My Dearest Children,
“Your life is God’s gift to you. What you make of your life is your gift to God!” Somewhere in between, your mom and I, have to take great responsibility for what you have become. When we proudly attend your school graduation ceremonies, we take pride, not only in what you have accomplished but also for somehow having contributed to your achievements. In like manner, when you commit errors in life, somehow we believe your upbringing and the guidance we have provided, or the lack of it, has in some way played a great role.
We believe we did not spoil you. But did we give you enough of what we had? Did we give enough of ourselves to you? Did we spend enough time with you?
Jennifer, as our first-born, you bore the brunt of our inexperience. It was an “on-the-job training” with no retakes. We had no prior chance to try out various parenting styles and approaches. There was no way we could say “time out” to attend parenting classes on parenting. No such classes were available. But because of you, we carried with us great lessons and higher hopes of doing better on the next child. My Dearest Children, what you are today is the cumulative result of our wealth of experience as parents. Whatever we knew and applied is the accumulated wisdom on parenting lived and handed down by your grandparents and their parents.
Be thankful to them for what you and your parents have become. Just like us, they too only had a “hands-on” Parenting 101.
We aimed to be the best because we wanted no less for each of you. And seeing you all grown up now, with your feet firmly planted on the ground, we must say, you “trained” us well and helped us face the challenges of raising you!