What Kind of Parent Will I Be? What Kind of Parent Do I Want To Be?

This past week I had the privilege of speaking at Kingston’s Go Green Baby, to a small group of mostly parents- to-be. Well, I would consider that they are already parents, and that their lives are already marked for good by the presence of their unborn little one. I admire their wisdom in seeking wisdom in advance – before sleep deprivation sets in and the dial is set to “function at any cost!”

Do you know that there is so much planning and preparing that a new parent can do in advance, just by taking time to thinks things through, by observing the world of parents and little ones and pondering what their response might be?

Sometimes we laugh at the pre-parents that we were, remembering things such as, “my kid will never ______________” and fill in the blank. Some of these “my kid will never” we have control over and some we don’t. One of my “I will never do!” was allowing a little kid to run around with a snotty nose.

And then we got one of those little ones for our very own; a sweet, loving little person with chronic upper and lower respiratory problems which included, yep, a thick, grungy, output, right in the middle of an unbelievably cute little face.

We were visiting my mom and step-dad in California, and of course, even though it was winter and freezing, we all wanted to go to the beach. This same little cutie-pie climbed up the little sand dune where my mom and I were sitting, with a thick stream of gunk hanging from nose to chin, and for some reason, I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have a single Kleenex; neither did my mom – and we normally needed at least three.  Deep breath. I reached over, squeezed from the top of that cute little nose down, and removed all that stuff in a single swipe with my bare fingers, smearing them in the sand to get them clean. My mom and I sat in silence for a minute, before she quietly said, “I’m so proud of you.”

I never thought I would do such a gross thing, and not even really mind too much. Another of those, “I will never do that” moments occurred when I already had two little ones.

We were invited to dinner at a home where there were two teen/pre-teen sisters who were so viciously unkind to each other that I felt in shock, just being present, just by having to listen to them. The mom kind of shrugged her shoulders and said, “Teenagers! What can you do??”

“Anything! Everything!” was what ran loudly through my mind.

I looked at my little toddler son and his infant baby sister and thought to myself, “you will never treat each other like that”.

Just like that.

A decision made and held onto through the years to come. It was a rock-solid goal to be reached any way possible, at any cost, with no obstacles deemed to be too large. This was one matter in which the end clearly defined the journey.

A few years later, I heard someone say about their family of four kiddos, “you will love each other. “

Just like that. The same thing in reverse. It was hard work, but so worth it.

What about you?

What things stand out as “never!” or “always!” or maybe there isn’t an extreme, but a simple desire to do “this” and maybe not “that”. May I encourage you to think about it? You don’t have to solve everything and have solid plan in place before the baby is born or before they can talk, but just thinking about it, with gentleness and/or determination, will put you miles ahead and help you to achieve that overall goal.