As we are looking to build our tribe of local friendships and connection we are spending more time around unfamiliar folks and witnessing a wide array of parenting preferences. Lately, the one thing that has really slapped me up side the head, is the true burden some folks feel in taking on this big job of parenting.
This idea got me to wondering, I mean for the vast majority of folks they did choose to invite this human being in to the world. And again, for a large percentage it was cause they were crazy in love with their partner and wanted to make another human being out of that love. And from what I know for certain about babies they arrive in this world as nothing sort of a pure unconditional love. From day one, that is simply what they have to offer up, pure unaltered not tampered with or damaged unconditional love. A rather powerful drug that makes parents fall head over heels in love.
So if we have these people who are in love and they make this person that is pure love, where is the point that the child becomes this manipulative little being who is out to make their parents life challenging? Where is the turning point that the child stops being unconditional love and becomes devious and in need of discipling or reshaping?
I imagine it could be at the point when they start to push a parents buttons and in doing so encourage this parent to turn inward and have a look at what is going on for them. Cause really, for a child to be spoiled wouldn't that mean at some point they were rotten? And if they were rotten wouldn't that mean at some point the scales began to tip from good to bad? In order for that tipping moment to emerge from a being that was pure unconditional love when it arrived one would have to argue it had something to due with the environment the unconditional love was being nurtured in. And if this is truly the case we present, how in the name of any powerful being can that be the fault or the responsibility of the child. They were the one who was invited in to this world after all and showed up wrapped in unconditional love.
I vividly remember a moment in my life when an subtle internal shift occurred that opened an even deeper well of unconditional love with in me for my children. It was late in the night and my 2 year old had woken me again to nurse (for the first three years of his life this happened nearly every 2 hours) I turned to him with frustration. I heard a stream of stories and advice pouring in to my mind about how he was manipulating me, I should have trained him out of this by now etc. You know what I saw in return, a smile. A smile that radiated that pure untainted love he had for me. I recognized in that moment that that was all he ever had to offer me. It was at the heart of our every interaction. How in the world could I meet that with anything but the same pure and free love.
I try my best to have a huge amount of compassion for the chest puffed father asserting his power over his children in the park, in a manner that belittles, shames and embarrasses them. I suspect he is responding to the world around him that encourages this sort of dominance as evidence that he is doing a "good job" as a parent. And I offer a smile to the frazzled mother in the grocery store who is threatening her children in a public manner cause I suspect she has bought in to the idea that a good parent keeps their children quiet in order to not disturb those around her, who by the way don't have an ounce of unconditional love for her.
I still don't think it's okay though. I wonder about a world that accepts and makes it okay, to take unconditional love, manipulate it or train it or discipline it and then turn around and blame the results of that on the person who arrived invited offering nothing but that unconditional love.