[My dad] didn't do much apart from the traditional winning of bread. He didn't take me to get my hair cut or my teeth cleaned; he didn't make the appointments. He didn't shop for my clothes. He didn't make my breakfast, lunch, or dinner. My mom did all of those things, and nobody ever told her when she did them that it made her a good mother.
If a child sees something in a parent that the child aspires to, he or she will copy that parent and be content. If a children feel that a parent is living a life that shows compassion and understanding, patience and love, that child will not have to reach a stage of rebellion against that parent. Why rebel against someone who has listened to you and wants to help you fufill your dreams? A parent who has proven time and again that growth and happiness of his or her children is priority number one does not have to worry about where these children are heading in life. They will be sensitive and productive members of society for as long as they live.
I thought of all the magazine article I'd read on mothers who worked and constantly felt guilty about leaving their children with someone else. I had trained myself to read pieces like that and silently say to myself, 'See how lucky you are?' But it had been gnawing at the inside, that part that didn't fit, that I never let myself even think about. After all, wasn't it a worse kind of guilt to be with your child and to know that you wanted to be anywhere but there?
We all know that parents do not make children but that children make parentsAuthentic parenting is one long sacrificial actparenting reveals the way that sacrifice at once diminishes our life as we knew itwhile at the same time revealing to us larger and infinitely more fascinating forms of lifeParents know experientially that the very process which makes them suffer also makes them grow.
Would a minute have mattered? No, probably not, although his young son appeared to have a very accurate internal clock. Possibly even 2 minutes would be okay. Three minutes, even. You could go to five minutes, perhaps. But that was just it. If you could go for five minutes, then you'd go to ten, then half an hour, a couple of hours...and not see your son all evening. So that was that. Six o'clock, prompt. Every day. Read to young Sam. No excuses. He'd promised himself that. No excuses. No excuses at all. Once you had a good excuse, you opened the door to bad excuses.
If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom. If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle. And if you wanted to change things, you might have to tear down both and start over.
what I want you to be - I don't mean physically but morally: you are very well physically - is a firm fellow, a fine firm fellow, with a will of your own, with resolution. with determination. with strength of character that is not to be influenced except on good reason by anybody, or by anything. That's what I want you to be. That's what your father
But to be a parent is to live in the past-present-future all at once. It is to hug your children and be intensely aware of how much smaller they felt last year ... even as you wonder how much bigger they will feel the next. It is to be a time-shifter, to marvel at the budding of their intellect, their verbal dexterity, their sense of humor ... at the same time rewinding and fast-forwarding ... to when they were younger, to when they'll be older. It is to experience longing for the here and now, which I know sounds flaky - sort of like complaining about being homesick when you're already home - but can happen, trust me, when you live in multiple time zones all at once.
One must make allowances for a parental instinct that has been starving for twenty-five or thirty years. It is famished, it is crazed with hunger by that time, and will be entirely satisfied with anything that comes handy; its taste is atrophied, it can't tell mud cat from shad. A devil born to a young couple is measurably recognizable by them as a devil before long, but a devil adopted by an old couple is an angel to them, and remains so, through thick and thin.
I realize it's commonplace for parents to say to their child sternly, 'I love you, but I don't always like you.' But what kind of love is that? It seems to me that comes down to, 'I'm not oblivious to you - that is, you can still hurt my feelings - but I can't stand having you around.' Who wants to be loved like that? Given a choice, I might skip the deep blood tie and settle for being liked. I wonder if wouldn't have been more moved if my own mother had taken me in her arms and said, 'I like you.' I wonder if just enjoying your kid's company isn't more important.
The mother gazes at the baby in her arms, and the baby gazes at his mother's face and finds himself therein...provided that the mother is really looking at the unique, small, helpless being and not projecting her own expectations, fears, and plans for the child. In that case, the child would find not himself in his mother's face, but rather the mother's own projections. This child would remain without a mirror, and for the rest of his life would be seeking this mirror in vain.