This month’s theme is Enlightened Parenting, and writer Meredith Montgomery discusses methods such as establishing values and hummingbird (not helicopter) parenting, disciplined and calm communication and learning from our kids. As I reviewed her feature article, I reflected upon some of my own experiences and thoughts about parenting—for example, the importance of taking time to be a conscious and active parent. From the moment our precious bundles of joy arrive, the clock is ticking. We only have so long to give them a solid foundation, impart the knowledge they’ll need and the values required to know how to interpret, prioritize and act upon all that data, help them build skills, confidence and purpose, model the parenting we would want our child to become to our grandkids and give them opportunities to learn and test it all through trial and error in a safe (at least monitored) environ- ment before successfully launching into full self-reliance. That’s a lot of stuff to pack into a relatively short amount of time, and it’s why parenting is not a passive thing. For me, daily reflection upon the trajectory that the effects my methods seem to be having on my child help me be more present and strategic, and that helps me feel more confident in “where we are going” and stay connected with the long-term goal. Another thing we run into in our home is how different my husband and I can be, and how that may put stress or confusion onto our son. One thing I have found is that rather than defending my way first, I always make an effort to first remind our son how differences are good, because they help us be more balanced, healthy and strong. When those differences are pointed up by some event or situ- ation, I first lovingly give insight into why “dad’s” perspective is valid and a good idea, and discuss some of the benefits of doing things his way. I then spend equal time sharing my way as another option and explain some of the benefits I see in doing it that way. I keep it short and sweet, and always end by reminding our son that I love dad immensely and to me, his differences are some of the things that attracted me to him, and that being married helps us balance each other and makes us a stronger team. The idea is that going forward, our son knows that differences are okay, that they can be a valuable part of a relation- ship and that he is able to make his own choices, blending what he learns from each of us to become the man he wants to be. Before I was a parent, I had absolutely no clue as to what all is involved in raising a child. Now I think it’s not so much raising a child as it is helping a new adult to form. Focusing on the “child” part seems to be focusing only on the now, whereas keeping an eye on his adulthood keeps he and I focused on the end goal—a healthy, happy, productive and loving adult who can contribute to society, be connected to God and, in turn, be a loving parent and counselor to his own “future adults” (children) one day.
With gratitude to all the parents before me who did their best,
Marteé Davis, Publisher