The hardest part about being a parent is knowing I am not in control of my children’s upbringing while believing their lives depends entirely on me. On the one hand, it seems obvious that my skill as a father betters my children’s present and their future, but on the other hand, it is clear that each child is their own person and will make most of the choices for their themselves. Experience shows us that siblings raised in basically the same manner, turn out totally different. Some who are raised with wonderful parents choose dark paths, while some in abusive homes choose paths full of light. Given these realities, then, what should be our attitude towards raising our babies?
Building relationship is the most important aspect of being a parent. Being in a place to know our children is huge, which is easy to say, but difficult to do. For starters, we are generally terrible at having deep relationships. We are great at starting new relationships, but not as great at nurturing older ones. It helps to think of each life stage in our child’s life as them becoming a new person. Physiologically, this isn’t that far from the truth. As they develop, evolve even, their capacities, perspectives are changing and we should reintroduce ourselves to this changing reality.
Another challenge is the power inequality inherent in the parent-child dynamic. For whatever reason, people at different levels of power rarely meet at a heart level. Those is charge must choose to be the boss or choose to be a friend, it’s rare when they can be both. Yet, when our children are born, there is a massive power difference that threatens all we do. We are tempted to either make our children’s lives focus on us or we give them all the power and make our lives completely about them. Instead, we should know that the only legitimate authority is the power to serve. As they age, we become mutual servants who wield careful sway over each other.