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A Thought on Parenting

I'm not one of those eternal optimists who believes that we always need to look on the bright side ... that it is our responsibility to be positive in the face of adversity. No, I think that if fate deals you a bad blow, you have the right to complain, bitch, moan, be morose, grunt and grumble.

But, having said that, I want to say that with our children we really need to seek out, appreciate and enjoy what is special about them. I guess it's natural that parents want their children to be exceptional, precocious geniuses: stars in the classroom and heroes on the athletic field. You know the refrain: "Pin your faded hopes and dreams / on your child's high school teams." There is some uncomfortable truth in it.

High expectations are fine, but in some cases also unreasonable. One of the hardest lessons a parent learns is that our kids are who they are, and not who we want them to be. So, the trick is to learn to appreciate and enjoy who they are while accepting that they don't necessarily fit into the mold that we, perhaps unconsciously, create for them.

We have responsibilities: we have to try to instill in them a sense of right and wrong, we have to give them opportunities to shine. We have to give them our time and our attention. We clothe them, shelter them, make them feel safe and loved. But at some point we should draw a line: this is where my influence stops, and this is where you decide who you are and who you want to be.

If you can do that, you are a step closer to ... let's call it happiness.



and your child is a step closer to ... independence? adulthood?



Although you didn't take the words out of my mouth, you took the thoughts out of my head. I feel so lucky to be the parent of Cory, who has been wonderful to raise. He makes me proud almost all of the time (annoyed only a small part of the time). This past summer I sent him on his own to Oregon to ski Mt. Hood. It was a big step for me to "let go," literally! At the end of January, he will be going to Norway to ski in Telemark World Cup races. (Telemark races are actually in Telemark, Norway; imagine that!) Another big step. After this, sending him off to college should be a p.o.c!

January 2019



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