Parenting my children has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. The role I have taken on as “Mom” is daunting at times when I realize that it’s my job to teach them how to be people – regular ole’ human beings, it can often feel like one of the hardest tasks I have been given.
This is why I am extremely thankful for people like Brene’ Brown and Glennon Doyle who often put into speech or writing things my mind and heart very much need when it comes to parenting. After re-listening to Brene’ Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability, and making my way through Glennon Doyle’s book, Carry On, Warrior, there were some commonalities in what they were saying that I believe is something to keep in mind as we parent our children – We are human beings, they are human beings, and we’re all in the same boat.
Here’s what I mean…if you are reading this blog post then without even knowing who you are I know some things are true of you – you are a human, you make mistakes, you are not perfect even though you may want to be, relationships are hard, life is hard, and if you’re honest with yourself you worry about how your kids will grow up in light of your imperfections.
It seems important that we begin to realize (and live as though it is true) that our children will invariably experience life as we do. After all, you are human and they are human, and being human means we naturally have limitations of which we have no control over.
So as parents/caregivers should we approach this reality by trying our hardest to perfect our children as best as we can? Do we really think we can keep them from experiencing the realities of what it means to be alive? The truth is that no matter how much time and energy we put forth for our children, or high expectations we place on them, our desire to make our children perfect will never reach perfection.
When it comes to our children (and really just life in general) we need to stop trying to make the uncertain things about life certain. We will never be satisfied and we will never be perfect.
Consider what both Brene’ Brown and Glennon Doyle share with us when it comes to parenting:
Here’s an excerpt from Brene’ Brown’s TED talk entitled, The Power Of Vulnerability (to listen to her entire talk click here). She spends about a minute talking about the topic of parenting: “We perfect most dangerously our children. Let me tell you what we think about children – they’re hard wired for struggle when they get here. When you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, “Look at her she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect. Make sure she makes the tennis team by 5th grade and Yale by 7th grade. That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say, “You know what, you are imperfect and wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging. That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that and we’ll end the problems I think that we see today.”
In this excerpt from Glennon Doyle’s book, Carry On, Warrior, she is talking about the two things she tries to keep in mind when parenting. Here’s what she shares with us, “First, I remember that I am a human being, and human beings make mistakes. Almost constantly. We fall short of what we aim for, always. We get impatient. We get angry. We get selfish. We get extremely sick and tired of playing pet store. That’s okay. It’s just the way it is. We’re human. Can’t fight it. Elephants gotta be elephants and people gotta be people. Then I remember what my most important parenting job is, and that is to teach my children how to deal with being human.”
What if we banded together as parents and caregivers and made a pact to no longer try to perfect our children? What if, instead, we chose to spend our time and energy teaching our children what it means to be human? Let’s make them experts on what it means to be human and equip them to thrive within their human limitations.
-Lianne Johnson, LPC