Parenting 101

Last year I attended a parenting class. 10 weeks. 2 hours. Two things motivated me to take this class… First, I have a 6 1/2 year old son, and I wanted to be more equipped as I raise him. Second, I have observed in my practice that over 90% of my clients have a parenting-related issue. As I sit with them in sessions, I have realized that many people carry parent-related wounds from their pasts. The other 10% are parents having difficulties raising their children. These issues affect all other aspects of their lives and they end up in counselling sessions. My thinking was that as I attend these classes, I would gain some insight on where parents have failed, and use this as a basis to help my clients. As a teacher, that’s my default, I am always seeking knowledge so I can use it to influence others.
So I enrolled for the class, pen and note-book in hand, head clear, ready and set to get what I needed to help THEM. And that’s when I got the reality check of my life. Over the 10-week period, I realized one and only one thing. This course was not about THEM, it was about ME. I realized that like any parent, I actually had the skills I needed to raise my child right… but – here’s the catch – first; I had to use them on ME. I realized that everything I desired to see my child DO, I had to work to BE. This class was about parenting me first. Self-Control. Delayed gratification. Personal discipline. Honesty. Kindness. Sharing. Respect. Humility. These are qualities we want to see in our children. I have been forced to step back and take a deeper look at myself.
I have learnt that I have to continuously assess where I am before I expect it of my child. I tell you, it is no easy feat. Over the last few weeks, I have been sharing these lessons with a group of parents at my church. For the two hours we meet every week, the same lesson has been replicated over and over. .. It can NEVER be about the children unless it starts with US. I am not imparting knowledge; I am learning new parenting lessons from this amazing group of parents. I am not gaining new skills and techniques to produce a perfect child, I am in the process of continuously improving myself so that my son, and all the younger ones in my circle of influence can have a point of reference for a role model.
I have come to learn that adults teach children in three important ways. The first is by example, the second is by example and the third is by example.
I have been awakened to the fact that there is no perfect. Just effort … and better.
And the journey continues. As the good African people say….“ALUTA CONTINUA”…….

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