Read with caution

by Rod Smith

Parenting has tried very hard to teach me a few valuable lessons. Although sometimes a slow learner, and some crucial principles have demanded refresher courses, I think the lessons are transferable to all relationships:

  • Identifying and stopping when I’m projecting my history, fears, frailties, failures and temptations onto their motives and behaviors.
  • Knowing when to stop talking, when words, shared thoughts and ideas, have turned into chasing, demanding, hunting and “suggestions” have transformed into strong-arm tactics.
  • Knowing when my actions, as loving as they may appear, promote laziness or unnecessary dependence.
  • Knowing when to stop thinking, anticipating for each of my sons when they are quite capable of planning and organizing themselves and understanding that if they are not, my doing it for them is hardly helpful if they are to ever develop these very necessary skills.
  • Knowing anxiety and love are not the same thing and are easily, often painfully confused as they can feel so much alike. 
  • Parenting ends; while I will always be their dad, they are no longer little boys who need oversight and my watchful eye. They are men in their own right, both fully capable of life with me and without me. If this is not so, I have truly failed as a dad, and they, as men.

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