The Purpose of Parents

Ever since Ethan learned to start reaching for blankets, toys, necklaces, etc., a bit of profundity has been rolling around in my mind. At least, it was profound to me. As many life truths are, it is simple and logical, yet challenging.As a parent, I want nothing more than to give my baby the world. I want to be there when he needs me… every time. I want to expose him to the right things at the right time. I want to be his source of wisdom, love and guidance. I want to be all he needs, all he wants, at all times.

Unfortunately, I just can’t. I won’t always be there to keep him from scraping his knee. I will make wrong decisions. I will not always and forever be the ideal role model. I will not always know what he needs. In fact, if this first 9 months is any indication of what the future holds, I’m going to be spending a lot of time guessing what he needs, but pretending I know.

I cannot hope to fulfill him in all of these ways, but I don’t think SuperMom is even what he needs.

I read an article recently that relieved some of the pressure. It said that they are our failures as parents that more fully prepare our children to overcome life’s obstacles. Even if we could be all-seeing, all-knowing and ever-present, we wouldn’t be doing our kids any favors, because the moment they stepped out from under our wings, they would be unprepared to face the hardship that goes hand in hand with living.

I would contend that my job as a mother is not to keep Ethan from struggle, disappointment or pain. I was not meant to completely shield him from the world and its evils. I cannot and should not give him the world.

I should, however, do everything I can to ensure that the world is within his reach.

I am a crafter of opportunities.
I am to help him realize that life is his for the experiencing.
I am to encourage.
I am to believe.

I am to make victory attainable.

The words, “mother,” and “nurture,” are synonyms. To nurture a plant, I cannot grab the stem and stretch it to its maximum height. To “mother” a plant, I determine the right amount of water and sunlight, and then position it in the best environment for growth. Plants and children naturally thrive when planted in the right soil.

Since Ethan was born, I have prayed a prayer over him every night before bed, and I’d like to share it with you. I think it perfectly sums up what I’ve been trying to say.

Oh God, thank you for this precious little baby You’ve brought into our lives.
I pray that, as he sleeps, he would feel comfortable, warm, safe and loved. Please grant him health and safety.
Please fill his future with love, fulfillment, friendship, joy, peace and You. Safeguard the relationships in this family, and help us to communicate in healthy, loving ways.
Please teach Adam and I to be good spouses, and good parents. But where we fail, God, please show Yourself strong in our lives. Please be what Ethan needs when Adam and I cannot.
Thank You for Your goodness to us.
Amen.

2 thoughts on “The Purpose of Parents

  1. Rona says:

    Sarah, you are an astonishing writer. I read this and am in awe of you. The last 2 days I have been questioning what I was thinking when I decided to go to grad school, because as you know, grad school is all about writing, and after reading some posts other classmates had put up, I was seriously considering getting out while I was ahead. I wouldn’t say I’m a horrible writer, but I’m not able to put into words what is always in my head. Your book will no doubt touch so many lives, and I look forward to reading it. Just wanted to say, Wow, what an ability you have that many of us only dream about. Isn’t motherhood more than you ever dreamed? Have a great day. Rona

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