God gifts to parents the most precious, rewarding, and important job that has ever existed.
It is also the hardest job… ever.
There is a saying that if you ask God for patience… God will give you plenty of opportunities to practice. Patience is not like an app you download for your smart phone. Neither is humility, passion, acceptance, love, forgiveness, faith, hope, laughter, joy, nurturing, playfulness, or wonder.
All jobs present the challenge and the opportunity of learning new skills, of honing existing ones. Being a parent presents the opportunity to learn how to teach, how to set boundaries, how to focus on what’s really important, how to let go of the small stuff, how to worry and not show it, how to love unconditionally, how to protect, how to hold on tight, and how to know when to let go.
The compensation is at the same time non-existent and priceless – it is immeasurable, unquantifiable, intangible and so real that at times it feels like nothing else has ever mattered more.
Here in the US, the job benefits include taking care of someone else when they are sick and using vacation time to go to school plays, sporting events, teacher conferences, and very expensive places full of life-size adaptations of animated characters both live and animatronic. They also include paying for someone else’s braces, glasses, clothes, toys, sporting supplies, and entertainment. At the end of it all we can choose to invest an atrocious amount of money into an education that will prepare SOMEONE ELSE to be successful and prosperous and hopefully at the end of their career – retire well.
The job duties include being vomited on (a lot), having constantly injured feet from stepping on toys in the dark, aching backs from carrying around said little persons, being screamed at (in public), being argued with and talked back to, being sighed at, eyes rolled at, and/or simply ignored.
If I knew all I know about parenting today… would I have chosen to do it all over again? To those considering having children – don’t let this post turn you off.
For all the challenges… for all the struggles and frustrations and worry and tears… for the sleepless nights and overwhelmed days… the return on investment of all our personal, emotional, physical, mental and spiritual resources is magnificent… tremendous… super colossal.
Every day is a treasure trove of gems – every smile, giggle, accomplishment, hug, finger painting and poignant, simple, silly prayer at the dinner table is worth more than any winning lottery ticket.
Above it all, whatever the investment, whatever early gray hairs may come, whatever the rewards… the job of parenting is balancing the most rewarding and the most challenging job at the same time.
And I commit to doing it every single day. To being the best parent I can be. To struggle through, to learn, to grow, to do it better, to ask for help, to be firm, to be loving.
I commit to do this for myself, for my children.
I commit to do this for you.
I commit to do this for your children and your children’s children.
I commit to take this job as seriously as it requires I do because as a parent I hold in my hands, every single day, the most valuable resource of all… the future.