As parents, each of you has been in the position I am in today: about to bring a new baby into this world.
I’m 8 months pregnant with my second child, and as this exciting time nears, I’m preparing, eager and happy. But most of all, I’m consumed with one simple thought: Who are you, Baby?
And so it begins.
I do not think I’m wrong to belabor on this thought. It’s completely natural for expectant parents to revel in the idea of what kind of child they will invite into their family. How exciting! A new smile, a new voice, a new human to hug and love. But how long do we allow ourselves to dwell before the excitement turns into an expectation?
I don’t even think we mean to. But as our babies grow into toddlerhood then preschool and so on, these thoughts continue to linger. Somehow, even after a child has been born and presented itself to the world, we still continue to wonder, Who are you going to be, Baby?
So what if we didn’t? What if we let go of our own ideas and curiosities for our children, and we fostered theirs instead? What if, as they grew, we released our own fears and began accepting theirs, along with whatever else excites them, intrigues them, inspires them and makes them happy? What if we genuinely trusted our children for whoever they want to be?
I think, indeed, they would show us the way.
As parents and adults, we are the great influencers of a child’s world. We know this, and we should treat this responsibility with mighty respect and care. But if we’re doing it right, we focus more on the environment they need to soar and not the expectations we impulsively have for them. Parenting is not an opportunity to raise the child you want or expected or thought you needed. Parenting is a time to celebrate the child you have, right in front of you and shining.
And what a view.
It’s not easy to admit to any agenda you may have had for your child. I think we have all been there! But it is easy to start anew, to look up and see your child with fresh eyes and to embrace them for all their surprises and gifts. And keep watching! For they have so much to teach us.
If we let them.
About the Author
Angela Tewalt is a writer, storyteller and mother to two boys. She shares parenting stories and inspiration in Guidepost Parent.
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