Letter #203: Hardest job in the world?

April 21, 2011

Dear parenting,

I don’t even begin to act like I have a clue about you. You have to be the single most difficult task in the world. On the flip side, I think most would argue you’re one of the biggest joys and most rewarding endeavors a person could embark on. Either way, you overwhelm me.

I’ve spent a ton of time with kids in my life…I am one of 29 cousins just on my dad’s side. I’ve babysat, assisted with VBS, helped coach athletic teams and worked at camp for five summers. I have two nephews and live in the basement of five of my favorite kiddos.

Every stage of my life has given me a glimpse into you, but never a real grasp. I still don’t have a grasp, I’m not a parent. I’m one of three kids, but I’m the baby so I never lived with little kids. Living in the same house with kids gives more of an insight into you than any other avenue I’ve walked down. I’ve learned more about you and raising kids than I ever guessed I’d know prior to bearing my own children.

I’ve picked up on all sorts of tips in your area. The importance of consistency. The value of stepping away from situations while in anger and coming back after calming down. The impressionability of children…they’re smart, watching our every move and emulating everything. Who knew?! Lots of lessons learned. Way more to learn, however, I think the thing I’ve noticed most is the fact you are constant. Kids never stop asking questions, needing help or attention and requiring correction or redirection. This is in the midst of everything else life entails…cooking and grocery shopping; phone calls and emails; school work and practices.

Question asking. It never ends. Ever. Their minds go a mile a minute, and they want to know everything. This in and of itself is awesome, yet exhausting. Add in constant correction and redirection and the ingredients add up to be the most difficult, time-consuming role in life. Kids need consistency, so talking through right and wrong choices regularly is important. If throwing a fit is acceptable one day and not the next, mixed messages are sent. On the flip side, constantly disciplining kids can’t be appropriate either. This means praising the kiddos when right choices are made is equally important. Oh boy, I don’t know if I’m cut out for motherhood…ever. It’s pretty fun  being able to give kids back to their full-time parents!

Summation: you’re complicated. You’re unique in every situation and with every kid. You aren’t a formula. You seem to be somewhat trial and error. You need a ton of prayer because nobody ever knows all the right answers. You require constant attention and effort. You are, hands down, the most difficult job in the world, yet is there anything more important or rewarding? Lord willing, I’ll embark upon you at some point in life. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy learning from afar and returning kiddos to their parents after a couple hours!

May our culture take you seriously and invest wisely in our children,

Respecter of parents, especially ones who choose to do it well

{photo attribution}


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