My Approach to Parenting Individuals
If you have followed any part of my personal journey you may know I have really, really, REALLY interesting kids. I haven’t tried to make them interesting, in fact, I haven’t tried to make them anything other than who they already are. None of my children have been very interested in baton twirling.
Cali had a fleeting moment of wanting to twirl in her elementary school talent show several years ago, but as soon as Granny stepped in as drill sergeant, she lost interest… no, she was profoundly miserable and will most likely never touch a baton again in her lifetime. It just wasn’t her thing, so when importance was placed on it, and demands of repetitive rehearsal, right and wrong, technique, and expectations of daily improvement, it came to an end. I had no opinion about whether or not she continued. If she wanted to do it, I would have supported her, when she was visibly distraught I ended it and watched her happily run outside to collect bugs.
I think it has been easier for me to not be attached to the choices my children are making with their lives because I fully experienced the exact opposite in my childhood. I remember my own powerless feelings of having few choices, and so, I have no desire to push for things from their lives that appeal to my own ego no matter how important those things may seem. Grades? I really don’t have an opinion. Fulfilling responsibilities, being respectful of all life, seeking happiness, demonstrating love and compassion…. now you’re talking my language. I try to teach my kids these aspects of life and surprisingly, things like good grades come with the package. (Also, Noah does care about grades and helps with all of the kids academics).
My approach to parenting is fairly simple and it keeps me from being upset nearly all of the time. I am rarely angry with my kid’s behavior. I don’t react to superficial circumstances at all. I don’t.
Noah and I also speak very blunt, and humorously about real life issues including subjects that are typically embarrassing to many folks. The kids ask very frank questions and we give very frank answers, which usually leads to laughter at the dinner table.
I like to observe my children. I watch them to identify the things they have natural inclinations towards. I look for the things in life that make them smile or capture their full attention, then I pursue all avenues that can bring more of that into their world. It doesn’t matter if I like it or not. I’m really not in to pickled baby birds, but my daughter has an impressive collection that is enhanced every nesting season.
I have no idea what profession each of my children will find interest in, which ones, if any, will choose higher education, a family, etc. It really doesn’t matter, anyhow. I have no need to attend Jacob’s college graduation, introduce Cali as Doctor Valentine, or to insist on a house full of grandchildren. Their lives are not my life. I love them unconditionally and I fully realize that they have been given to me, but they do not belong to me.