Archive for Thursday, February 1, 2001

Parenthood lacks comfort, yields rewards

February 1, 2001

By Rod Moyer

It never ceases to amaze me as a parent, just when you get comfortable, something happens.

It is the little successes in life, or steps if you will, that always keep me going as a parent. It begins with the joy and happiness of birth, which is forgotten quickly by the middle-of-the-night crying.

When your child has mastered the task of sleeping the entire night, a new goal arises. "If only we can get away from diapers, life as a parent would be so much easier."

When this moment finally arises, a new challenge awaits. "If only that child could walk, life would be so much easier," I thought.

Throughout elementary school, you worry about whether they will do well, form strong work habits and make good friends while wearing the "in" clothes or being with the "in" crowd (as if that were important). I just knew if we could get through the elementary school portion of life, it would have to get easier. Wrong again.

After elementary school was middle school and the unspeakable woes that accompany teenage years. "Gee, will they make the team, get to play, drop the touchdown pass, miss the easy lay up or serve the game winning point into the net?"

Academics get harder. Then there is the introduction of the opposite sex, phone calls, acne, hormones, attitude, etc. The list goes on and on.

I just knew once my child got to high school, I would no longer have to give rides to and from the dreaded 6 a.m. practice or pick them up from late practice. I just knew there would be more independence and less guidance and I was positive the conversations would be on a more adult level.

I must have been a moron. Didn't I know the academic demand in high school is critical? Performance and ranking rate high in college scholarships, resulting in money saved for the parent. Getting a poor grade in seventh grade won't affect their GPA like it does in high school.

Athletics and activities are now on the varsity level and performance on the field or court is crucial to the success of the team.

Conversations are not exactly what I thought they would be. Many times they come just short of a yelling match. That part about not having to drive your child in high school because they can drive now is also pure myth.

Little did I realize that each time your child gets into a one-ton vehicle, he or she is driving a weapon.

I will admit though, being a parent has many good moments.

I had the pleasure of visiting with a friend the other day and the topic of parenting came up. She posed a very interesting point about parenting and raising kids. She believes parenting is kind of backward. Why is it that the Mom gets to experience the dreaded pain of childbirth? Then there's the diaper thing again, the teens, peer pressures, attitudes and just when everything starts to come together, they leave the home. I have to admit, this is a very good concept. Wouldn't it be easier to pay someone to go through the headaches and then take the child later in life? As parents, we expend all this energy. Money, grief, heartache and gray hair. After we have gone through this, our kids leave. I now realize that I may have discovered the real injustice in parenting.

Remember, we are the parents and parenting is a major responsibility. If we work hard and have high expectations and are not afraid to make our children mad with our decisions, it is then we can only hope we did the right thing and as adults our children will also do the right thing.

Be patient. Your child will be out of diapers soon enough. Enjoy the first steps, because the trips to the emergency room are rough. They will get through elementary school. Don't be afraid to help them and don't be afraid to make tough decisions. Don't be afraid to take a stand and stick to your decision. You don't have to always give in and you don't always have to bail them out.

Children need the structure and independence to get out of jams. What you teach them at a young age will stay with them through their lives. When they fail a test, help them learn by their failures so they never do it again. When you go watch them play athletics, they are going to drop a pass or fumble the ball. They will serve the game winner into the net, and I guarantee they will miss a lay up or shoot an air ball. And do you know what? They may even drive the car onto a fire hydrant. But, no matter how bad they do, always be there for them. The sun will come up the next day and we will live for another adventure.

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