I have been a parent now for 17 years. I can say with certainty (read my story here) there are events which have happened in my life, because of being a parent, that I would have never thought possible. Situations that I never planned for and I never figured that I would respond that way I did, parenting done with a flair!
Humility the Virtue of Parenting
Humility is one, I liked to consider myself a pretty cool guy, until you change that first dirty diaper. The first time your spit up on, especially in public. Those moments will really grab you by the scruff of the neck and toss you right out into Adulthood. But that is just the beginning!
I accepted those moments, and moved on. I mean it happens to everyone right? It sure does, but it doesn’t just stop there!
Don’t Pee THERE!
We lived in a rural area, and I never thought some of that would affect how my 5 year old would respond to his first day of school. Where he jumped out of the truck and decided to pee, right in front of my truck……I had parked in front of the Parish Rectory, so I could walk him into school. Lightning couldn’t have moved fast enough to get to him. I learned at that moment, stuff happens. Subsequently, nothing can prepare us for what the future holds. Obviously, we had to have a talk about what is appropriate and what is not, and where to use the bathroom when in public. We tend to be who we are and forget that everything we do is watched and processed by a younger mind.
A mind which does not or can not differentiate between social cues, and locations. Same child standing in, the place where magic truly can happen, we are in line to check out. There is a woman who is standing in front of us, with the word “JUICY” on the rear end of her pants. Now, I have not noticed this until my little second grader, who does not whisper, tugs on my hand and loudly says “Daddy, why does her butt say “juicy” on it?” We smiled and moved to a different check out line. Parenting is such a joy isn’t it?!
Why does it always happen at moments outside of the house? And when we are in large public areas? One word “Humility”. It makes me laugh now. After seven children it just rolls off my back.
“Andrew, get the Barbie out of your pants!”, if you don’t have pockets at 6 years old, that is a perfect place to carry items around.
Church the final frontier…..
Kid’s in Church, nothing to it! Don’t they say the darnedest things, and often times when EVERYONE is around! The people around you will learn so much about you, your wife, and your bathroom habits! The joys of parenting…..
Welcome them all in
Recently, I was in Mass and there was a young family behind us with a two year old. She was not happy to be in Church and when her mind did switch gears, it went to play mode! By play mode I mean running stuff up and down the pew. What did my wife and I do? We turned around at the sign of peace, offered them peace and told them what a joy it was to have them close to us. After Mass we told them they should sit around us every week, our crew of youngins’ would be happy to help and keep the baby entertained!
Open your hearts and smile
Parenting is hard, and it can be extremely humbling. When you see another parent struggling offer them a smile, talk to the child with love and affection. Sometimes, those little moments help. I have noticed in the past that I can stop by a crying child, simply say, “What’s up little guy” and in shock, they stop immediately. Smile and walk away.
Growing in humility together!