For any endeavor to be successful, you have to have a overarching goal, right? You have to have a way of knowing if you’re getting what you want out of your effort or if you need to make an adjustment because you’re just not where you thought you’d be when you started.
When I started writing with intention, I also started setting goals. I want to write a whole complete novel. I want to self-publish. I want to connect with other writers.
Within that goal, there are smaller goals or mile-markers or strategies or whatever, whatever but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a very general WHY AM I DOING THIS?
Today I was thinking about what the overarching goal of parenting is and my answer ended up being a spectrum of Raising a Successful Adult where the median outcome is “child grows up and is able to care for oneself without my help so I can die in peace or, like, fulfill my youthful ambitions and then die in peace.”
But that’s just where I’m at.
Because where I got stuck in my thinking was at the two extremes of that spectrum where JUST BE NORMAL seems to be staring down BE THE MOST SPECIAL. I started lumping the terrible parents I’ve known onto one of those ends.
On the JUST BE NORMAL side is where you find your “disowned my kid for being gay” parents along with your “my kid doesn’t have autism, he’s just shy” parents and the “what you do with your big emotions is, you just shove ’em way down deep and don’t acknowledge them” parents.
On the BE THE MOST SPECIAL end, you’ve got your Beverly Goldbergs, your “you must be teaching it wrong because my daughter is brilliant” parents, those “go easy on him because he went to bed late and maybe don’t point out any of his mistakes because it’ll hurt his feelings” parents, and your, “you’ll never amount to anything as long as you only take seven out of the eight offered AP classes this term” parents.
Those parents never do notice the irony of their techniques backfiring, do they?
This is all just to remind myself that my kids are who they are and it’s my job to help them figure out who that is in a loving, encouraging, respectful environment with just the right amount of boundary-setting, rule-enforcing, and push toward self-discipline.
I mean, I don’t always succeed and my son is already king of arguing a loophole until I have to give in out of respect for his moxie but, you know, I try.