Updated: Nov 7
Who's ever truly ready for parenting? Where's the handbook, the manual, the well-worn path to follow? It's a rhetorical question, and yet, it resonates with every parent who's ever held their newborn and realized that an unimaginable weight has settled upon their shoulders. Regardless of the nine months of "preparation," nothing quite readies you for the moment life says, "It's time to deal", and you must.
You do your best. You draw from what your own parents taught you, and you're influenced even more by the life you lead. Parents may not always be readily available, but you encounter plenty of "parents" along your journey, and you absorb what you can, discarding the rest. If you're intentional, you pour all of this wisdom and life experience into your children, hoping, praying for the best.
You hope they absorb all the words you've used, the time you've spent trying to instill something meaningful in them. You hope they remember the guidance you've provided. Then, one day, life says it's time for them to venture off on their own, and a whole new fear arises. Did you do enough? Did you say the right things? Did you scold when necessary and praise when deserved, understanding that both are equally important, so that they don't take it personally? Were you there when they needed you? Did you equip them with the necessary tools to face whatever challenges life throws their way? It's a lot to carry.
And then you realize that the only thing you can truly hold onto is your trust in your own parenting. There's a voice in my head that "sounds" like my father. It's unmistakably him. And I hope the same for my children. When they come across something, and I'm not there, I hope that the voice in their head sounds like mine, steering them, correcting them, guiding them through the darkness, and encouraging them when the weight of the world gets heavy. I hope it's my husky, half-baritone voice or my wife's off-pitch vocal, just in time. Use as needed/Break glass if necessary. I'm not always there; life decrees it so. So, the hope for my voice to be heard by their minds eye, it's all I have. One thing I know for certain is that I was always there, and I did a lot of talking. Ha!
One last thought: a message to the Black community. What's with this notion that a child has to leave the nest by the age of eighteen? It's a ridiculous concept. Life's challenges come at all of us differently, so how can anyone set a strict timeline for such a significant life transition? Instead, let's prepare our kids and ready them for the world. But if they're not fully prepared by the age of 18, for whatever reason, why would the solution be to effectively throw them to the sharks? Again, ridiculous. Let's "give" them to the world as untethered as they can be when they're truly ready. They'll be better for it, so will you, and so will the world.
Parenting is a journey of trust, and as old heads, we pass down these perspectives and insights to create a world where children can thrive, no matter their age or the path they choose to follow. It's about sharing wisdom, nurturing growth, and instilling the confidence to face the unknown. I appreciate yall. One Love