Would you hire a doctor who never knew what it felt like to be hurt or sick? How could you, knowing that every time you described discomfort or pain he had no chance of understanding what you were describing and so no chance of properly diagnosing your problem.
How many of us that parent take the time to remember clearly what it felt like to be a child? I don’t mean reminiscing or retelling funny childhood stories. I mean thinking deeply about the mistakes we made along the way and how it felt to make them and be held accountable or not. I mean looking critically at the person you are now and how the echoes from then shape that person. I’m talking about taking more than just a minute to sift through your memory banks to revitalize the feelings you had when everything and everyone was bigger than you. When life felt like a giant party that had been already underway for years when you showed up and everyone knew everyone else there except you.
We all learn along the way as parents and look back sometimes with guilt at what we didn’t seem to know before. I am learning that parenting does come down to two main things and all other parenting techniques spring from those.
Show up and Empathize. How would you like a doctor that was never able to be at any of your appointments and had never been a person. That would be a bad doctor.
Showing up makes us good parents. Truly putting ourselves in our children’s shoes makes us great parents.
Doesn’t it always seem like the hardest problems boil down to the simplest solutions.