I have been thinking about being a parent... I have been one for a long time...
Our oldest is 35, and yes, time does truly fly by.... our youngest daughter is 33 and our son, the baby... :) is 28.
During all those years, I would say that I was a good parent... not perfect, not horrible, good.
I think back to one of the first blogs I wrote, a number of years ago, when I came up with what I felt were general guidelines for parenting. There were about 6 things I think, yet I have decided which one I feel, and or course this is my opinion, is the most important.
Unconditional love.... that is the basis of parenting. There are lots of other things that go into it as well, yet I feel this premise... loving your child unconditionally, is the most basic and important thing we can do to and for our kids.
When you become a parent, during the whole evolution of anticipating and preparing for your child's arrival, you change. You are no longer only responsible for yourself. You are responsible for another being... in every way. Humans are born completely dependent on others for care. We are helpless. Babies need adults to ensure that they survive.
When you see your child for the first time, that love you feel... it is hard to explain.
I have had the pleasure of feeling that 3 times on my own, and now have had the beautiful gift of watching my children experience that feeling as well.... I have 3 grandchildren.
We were out with all of our family last week, the youngest grandchild was baptized and I thought about unconditional love, and the power that has.
When you love someone unconditionally, you're not giving them a get out jail free pass, you're undertaking the task of doing the hard work it takes to help a child become a good and competent person. A person who can stand on their own and make their own way in this world.
I would also argue, that loving unconditionally means you have to do the hard work of providing boundaries, correcting behavior, setting appropriate limits, teaching your child how to love themselves well, love others well, respect others, and lead with integrity.
Leading with love... such a good thing. When our kids feel loved, when we demonstrate that we love them, no strings attached, through the good, the bad, and the ugly, we help them become functioning capable people.
Unconditional love... such a good thing... and the best thing you can do and give your child....
Parenting 101... love your children unconditionally.
Until next time,