Parent Involvement … are you getting an “A” for effort?

Even just typing the title sent me on a guilt-trip … you see, guilt-trips and parenting are pretty much inextricable besties that have accompanied each other on my parenting journey since I saw two lines on a stick. Have you taken your folic acid? Are you taking your pregnancy vitamins? Are you doing enough exercise? Are you sure it’s not too soon to have another baby … ?

I loved reading all the baby magazines and following my favourite parenting social media accounts. They made it look so simple and beautiful. But, while they advocated I eat nutritious food, all I could stomach was slaptjips laced with vinegar and mountains of salt and ginger beer. The guilt-trip started. Now, nearly 5 years later, I’ve realised that we never get off the train to Guilt-Central. Parenting is one of the most rewarding journeys you’ll ever go on, but it’s also fraught with moments where you question yourself and your ability to raise another little human.

I’ve realised one important thing, though. I’ve always loved the saying “Time is more valuable than money. You can always get more money, but you can never get more time.” Yes, it is a finite resource, a precious commodity and the one that your children crave the most. I now completely understand why that saying struck such a chord.

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Now, that my first born has started school, I’m even more conscious of making the time we have together as memorable as possible. I have asked myself these two questions, which the team at Liberty posed to me and a few other mommy bloggers:

  1. Am I an active parent that supports my children’s educational journey?
  2. Which tools help me enhance their educational journey?

The first question really made me think hard. I admit, I have at times wondered how long I could, without guilt, outsource baby-sitting to YouTube while I just took a moment to indulge in a hot cappuccino with both hands cradling the cup, as I used to back in the day. Am I an active parent who doesn’t outsource the essential parts of my child’s journey to whichever institution’s price tag makes me justify the worth of it’s offering? Wow, seriously deep conversation to have with myself, but I realised that being a parent is a huge privilege and a promise to a little person to prepare him or her for a world in which I cannot accompany him or her until the very end.

I recently stumbled upon the writings of Kahlil Gibran and his thoughts on children:

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

Tear-jerker stuff indeed, but it also made me realize again the importance of being as active a parent as possible and really aiming to support my children’s dreams instead of vicariously living mine through them. That also means making adequate provision for them in terms of time and also in terms of resources for their education as these are decisions they will make in a time that we cannot imagine. Who knows which jobs of today still exist tomorrow and as parents we can only equip them for the future with the best education we can afford with our necessary resources: money and as importantly, time.

As for the tools that help me enhance their educational journey … now this question had me searching harder than Google on a typical Kardashian “Break-The-Net” day. But more soul-searching, really. I came across another one of my favourite quotes by Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

I’ve never taken the conventional route when it comes to life and I cannot teach my children that which I do not understand, I took my daughter to Fashion Week in Berlin when she was 4 months old and discreetly breastfed her while watching some of the craziest displays of fashion creativity. I try to take my kids along as much as I can on my adventures (even if just to the local grocer) and try not to view their constant questions or pointing as an irritation, but as a chance to question things myself. I’ve learnt more from them often than vice versa. Just last week, my son and I (he is only 3 years old) went for a coffee (he loves babycino’s) and he commented on a newspaper picture. He asked, “Mommy, why do people hurt other people?” Now there’s a question for humanity and one that made me wonder if children aren’t born wiser than us and are sent here to teach us.

They are our most precious companions and it is a sacred privilege to see life through their eyes.Their unbridled curiosity is enough of a tool to enhance the mutual educational journey. The best thing we can do is do our best not to suppress it.

Share the best lesson you learned from your child below. To find out more about securing your child’s future, visit the Liberty site.

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2 Comments

  1. Wed, 31 January 2018
    Reply

    Hi Jo,

    Today I celebrate my son and mother’s Birthdays and I am so so grateful and blessed for the chance that they can celebrate it together.

    My daughter is in GR 7, my son started GR RR this year and my precious daughter is celebrated her 2nd birthday last year.

    Its been a roller coaster ride, but I have enjoyed every moment of it and can only Thank God for blessing me and their father with them.

    I have learned that you can plan their futures, but ultimately its God’s will and not ours. He gave us these children to rear them for the world and He will be with them every step of the way, as long as you give them the tools to make the right decisions.
    We as parents should learn to Trust God and our Children and the decisions that they make and just support them, be there for them and Love them unconditionally.

    I’ve learned that our children teach us something new everyday especially how to Love and grow and accept what is and what may be someday. We can only dream what their future holds, but we have to realize that its not what we want, but what they can give to this world as human beings. We should look at them everyday and appreciate who they have become and who they will be one day.
    (I hope all of this make sense…. lol)
    Lots of Love

    Casandra

  2. Sat, 03 February 2018
    Reply

    Being a parent is really not easy, i can now understand the pain and joy, i just hope my kid will grow up soon.

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