No man is an island, so I’ve read, and it’s true that everything I’ve achieved in my twenty years as a parent I’ve achieved in partnership with my wife Mary, who generally speaking is of like mind in her love of our children and their unique gifts and wonderful talents (even if she may not be in total agreement with some of my more esoteric ideas!). In fact, it was really Mary who set our path when she determined that our first child would be brought into the world by natural birth at a time when I really didn’t understand what that meant.
Not far into our parenthood, I was very fortunate to be offered an opportunity to be our baby daughter’s full-time stay-at-home parent and the rest, as they say, is history. For all but three years out of the last twenty, being at home with or for my children is just about all I’ve done with my life. And what a privilege it’s been. That experience, more or less, is what led to the creation of Parental Intelligence.
Now, as far as I’m concerned, my wife and I are successful parents. In fact, I’m totally confident in claiming that to be self-evident. Our children are bright and happy in themselves and they are each of them an asset to our society in their own way. But, that doesn’t mean that my newsletter is about presenting myself to the world as a parenting ‘expert’.
Far from it. I don’t have the credentials to start with. I know what I know about me, about my wife and our children, about the particular events that have made up our life experience and contributed to our chosen life style. I know about MY way of parenting. That’s it. As far as my parenting newsletter is concerned, the real experts – those more widely experienced in the arena of childhood generally – should be doing most if not all of the talking, and rightly so. (I just get to decide who they are!)
Nonetheless, I do have an opinion. A very strong opinion, as a matter of fact, that comes entirely from my own parenting experiences.
And this is it.
Successful parenting, whether we like it or not, requires that we honour our children’s self-authority as unique and individual biological entities, that we acknowledge their innate genius and unlimited potential and, in doing that, seek to both accommodate and encourage their personal growth while allowing them maximum control over their own lives.
When we understand this, we have only to align our thoughts and our actions, as much as we’re able to, with the natural flow of our children’s energy and we guarantee the support and assistance of Life Itself. As we then continue to allow the Perfectly Natural to happen naturally in our lives, our children will prosper as Life Itself intends them to prosper and, as a consequence, accomplishment will follow accomplishment and ‘problems’ with our children, if there are any at all, will be minimal.
“Go with the flow”, it transpires, is not just a smart slogan. It’s what works.
The more we’re willing to do that, to follow the path of least resistance – no matter if it looks completely different to what we imagine it should look like (or to what somebody who is not us tells us it should look like) – the closer our parenting is to what Life Itself requires of us if we’re to receive its blessings. The less we’re willing to do it, the more our parenting sinks to the level of mere child management or even lower into the ultimately useless culture of the ‘quick fix’.
Our main work as parents, then, is more to do with expanding our own life space to encompass the extra life that has entered into it than it is to do with our children themselves. To a very great extent – a far greater extent than I could ever have imagined when I first became a parent – our children’s development will take care of itself. For our part, we need only become big enough as human beings in our own right so that we are able and willing to facilitate it as best as we know how.
As I discovered myself long ago, our own personal development within the experience of parenthood is what Life Itself wants for us as much as it wants it for our children. Although we may have forgotten it, we knew childhood ourselves once with all its glorious potential, and when we are willing to accept whatever Life Itself requires of us in order to become truly successful parents, we remember the truth about ourselves and cannot help but want our wonderful children to be a constant reminder of what we ourselves can achieve.