Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Parenting

For a variety of reasons, I've been thinking a lot lately about being a parent. Though having a newborn is challenging in many ways, it seems easy to what is coming as the G-Man gets older. I'm grateful Heavenly Father set it up that way. We get a chance to ease into things. Right now, the challenge is trying to meet G-Man's needs the best we can when the only way he can communicate with us is through his cries. Not always understanding what he needs can be frustrating, but it seems to always work itself out. It helps a lot that he is a really good baby - something I know I can take absolutely no credit for. We're just lucky.

The scary thing is, as the kid gets older, the luck will wear off. The things we teach him and the examples we show him will matter. And even if we do everything we can to teach him correct principles and show him the right way to live, he still has free agency and can choose his own path.

As I've reflected on all this stuff, I keep coming back to a conversation I had with a guy I was dating my freshman year in college. This was like 15 years ago. (I am so old.) This kid was a good friend in high school when he was a senior and I was a sophomore. He was home from his mission and had decided he wanted to get married. To me. He also decided that because we were getting married that we couldn't kiss each other because kissing leads to other things and he didn't want to create problems before we got married. So we just held hands. (In retrospect, this should have been my first clue that things weren't going to work out. We ended up breaking up and he got engaged to someone else about 6 weeks later. I love BYU. Back to the story...) I was talking with this kid about marriage and the topic of parenting came up. He said something pretty wise. He talked about how on his mission as he studied his scriptures he came to realize that to be good parents, we needed to follow the example of our Father in Heaven. That we need to have expectations and consequences. That we need to allow our children to make mistakes and continue to love them and welcome them back regardless.

He gave some more specific examples that I don't now remember, but that idea has stuck with me and I think it is a true principle. To parent as Heavenly Father parents us. As G-Man gets older, I hope I can maintain that perspective. I know it will be difficult. But if we are to become like our Heavenly Father someday, I suppose that getting some parenting practice here is good preparation for what is to come. I think the hardest part of being a parent - at least the parents that I have observed over the years - is remembering that free agency is a true principle and no matter how much you want to, you can't control someone else's free agency because that is Satan's plan when everything is chosen for you by someone else. When I think about how hard it will be to watch G-Man make his own choices and experience the consequences, I can't even imagine how hard it must be for our Heavenly Father.

I will say that I am so grateful I was trusted with the opportunity to be a mother here on his earth. It's pretty humbling. I am having such a great time with my little guy and know that I need to continue to progress and grow so I can help him in his progression.


P.S. He can use his jumper now. It's very fun to watch him. And also, his dad has started him on the BYU brainwashing. We already have 3 outfits and a hat. I'm allowing this to happen because I did attend school there and did enjoy it, though I ended up graduating from a superior institution to the far North.

3 comments:

ktb said...

Nice insight on parenting. I'll come back and read it again when I am a mom.

Macy said...

Thanks. I'm totally loving your blog. The intuitive eating one really has me thinking.

Michal said...

I have long believed that the reason that Heavenly Father makes us parents and set up the family unit here on earth is because nothing will teach us more about Him and help us become like Him than being a parent. Think of all the selflessness, sacrifice, and worry that comes with parenthood! Thank goodness we have Him as a role model.
I'm so glad that I found your blog again--somehow I misplaced it for a while.

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