I am a why person. I guess I never out-grew that as a child. Maybe it was because my parents never discouraged why, why, why? In fact, they encouraged it. When we were old enough to read, my parents told us to “look it up,” which led to a love of reading (and stacks of encyclopedias in our bedrooms that served as bedtime stories).
I think that as adults, our focus shifts from why to how.
We feel the need to fix things and improve situations but don’t fully examine why the situation exists in the first place. I like to strip problems down to their cores – that is how I operate in my personal and professional lives. If you ask why enough times, eventually you get to the root of the problem. Often though, the root is so hard to fix and we’d rather bury it in band-aids.
I have noticed this more since I’ve become a mother. There are so many people telling us how, but so few telling us why. We get so preoccupied with how to parent, we forget why we parent.
Why do we parent?
When I step back and think about why I parent, I do a better job. I listen better. I hear better. I show more respect. I am more patient.
My son depends on us for so many things, but he is not ours. He is not a possession or a toy or an experiment. He is a human being. Just like me. He deserves the same amount of respect that I would offer any adult. If he is tired, he sleeps. If he is hungry, he eats. If he is crying, he is comforted.
I parent because I am responsible for him, his life, his happiness, his sense of security, his sense of worth, his safety, his well-being.
I parent because I want my son to treat others with kindness and respect.
I parent because maybe, just maybe, through him I can add something of value to this world I know. I can know that I have made every effort through him to make this world a better place – just by him being a part of it.
There are so many people who are quick to tell me how to parent – what I should be doing and the right way to do it. I am not really interested. I don’t dwell on sleep schedules and eating routines – he knows his needs and he will make them known. He is the expert on him. I will trust his instincts as well as my own.
No, I want to focus my energy on teaching him, doing things with him, and just being with him.
Once I figure out the why, the how will follow.
Why do you parent?