Monday, February 27, 2012

The Fine Line of Parenting

I want to warn you about the dangers of the world without making you scared of it.

I want to calm your temper tantrums and make your sorrows as short as possible without making you feel like there's something wrong with getting angry or crying. You'll do a lot of both in life and that's OK. Just don't do it about having to wear the "wrong jacket."

I want to tell you you're beautiful or handsome enough that when magazine covers, movies and peers tell you you aren't, you'll know not to believe them; but not so much that you think those are the things about you that matter or give you value. Because you are oh so beautiful; but that's not what I care about and it's not why I love you.

I want to encourage every natural ability and gift you have without making them feel like a task or chore. I don't ever want you to feel like a talent goes unnoticed but I also don't want to take the joy out of the things you naturally love to do. 

I want to tell you you're brilliant without you thinking that's all it will take to be happy or successful or that I'll be disappointed if something is difficult for you. Brilliance is nothing without hard work and you will fail at plenty, no matter how smart you are. Please make mistakes. The important thing is that you learn from them. I love that you are brilliant but I don't love you because you are brilliant.

I want the world to beat you up enough to make you resilient but not so much that you're submissive. And I want to help you fight the battles you need help with so you know I'm always there for you but I don't want to fight them for you.

I want to stick to my guns enough that you know I'm serious; but not be so hard that you see me as immovable. The truth is, no matter how serious I seem, I'm usually one sweet little smile away from caving.

I want to be your friend enough that when I say "don't wear that to school" you take it as a recommendation you respect and not an order; but not so much of a friend that when I say "eat your dinner" or "be home by 10" you don't respect me as a parent enough to obey me.

I want to tell you I love you enough that you NEVER have to question if it's true or real; but not so much that the words lose all meaning. Because I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you my sweet baby and no matter how many times I say it, it never gets weaker.

I want to show you I love you enough that...well, all the time, no matter what.


Jana Burrow said...


Toby said...

Thanks Jana!

Anonymous said...

You expressed every parent's feelings about parenting perfectly.


Anonymous said...

Once again you have touched my heart with your tremendous talent to convey into words your feeling, values and beliefs. But more importantly is the way you live the dream and make it a reality. Papa

Aunt Mollie said...

I can not tell you enough how well that was written. I am so happy that you find so much joy in parenting. I love you all very much and so blessed to have you in my life to show me how to love.

KBBean said...

This is beautifully perfect.