I have a book group on March 15th, and despite the fact that I adore the book and have been working on it in 1-2 sentence snatches for the last two or more attention-span-deprived years, I'm a little concerned that I won't be done in time. So here I am, with a rather tasty glass of wine and a bit of dark chocolate "brownie puddle" left over from our dinner earlier tonight with Adam & Sarah & co., soaking in Naomi Aldort in the quiet of a house full of sleeping people.
True, and frightening.
So, tonight I was sitting on the floor, talking to Sarah, and we touched on how we probably have different core philosophies when it comes to parenting, and I said that I think, maybe, that core philosophy doesn't matter. Ok, I don't entirely mean that, I do think it matters to some extent, and I don't think a philosophy based on a parent totally dominating a child is a terribly good thing. But I think a lot of what parents *do* on a day to day basis, whether or not their kid was totally validated all the time or whether or not their kid was ever spanked or whether or not the parent ever totally lost their shit (to borrow a phrase from Sarah)...I don't think that stuff necessarily matters, if at the end of it all, the kid has experienced himself or herself as being loved. In my own life, being loved means a person accepting that my own perception of my own experiences is valid. Sometimes a person may have good intent, but if that is not my perception, how much does the intent matter? I suspect that intent only matters if the person with the intent is willing to understand, accept, own that what they intended may not have been what happened. I guess what I'm getting at is responsibility. No matter what we intend, we are responsible for the outcome of our actions.
In my life as a parent, I hope that I will own an appropriate amount of responsibility for my children's experiences. I hope that I am able to let them know what my intent was and listen to them and understand when my actions did not have the desired effect - whether because I erred, or because my children are not myself and will not always share the same view on what is necessary and good for them, and do not necessarily have the same needs and preferences.
I am hoping that even though I fall short of my ideals, and even though my very ideals may not be what my actual children turn out to need, that I will hear them. Really hear them and understand them. I hope that I have the humility for that, whenever it is necessary. I know it would mean a lot to me as a child, and I hope that I can do it as a parent.
I suspect that this is far more important than adhering to any one particular philosophy or playbook. Although isn't that a philosophy in itself?