Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing—Benjamin Franklin

This is why everyone needs to be a parent

E started preschool. I know it will be great for him, but it panics me more than a little to think of him going out into the wide world if only for a few hours a week. There are thousands of "what ifs..." running through my head. It got me to thinking about all the things I have taught/have yet to teach my kiddos, good and bad. Being a parent is an interesting experience that is for sure.

I'm convinced that the reason God trusts us with children is for us rather than our kids because man alive! I'm a mess sometimes. It is a good thing He has my back or my kids would turn out nutty. My point though is that parenting is supposed to be about making your child the best possible version of themselves, right? And because you so often are teaching by example, that means that parenthood is essentially about making ourselves our best selves and hoping and praying that our kids follow the good stuff and ignore the bad. 

As a parent, especially a stay-at-home parent, you have to watch your every action, word, and even thought because they will pick up on it (and copy it at the worst possible time). Every move you ever make at any given moment is monitored by a little being who is soaking it in and forming their personality and moral code largely based on yours. You slowly learn that every imperfect move you make will be duplicated and magnified 100 times. And then reflected back at you, right where you can see it best.
   That time when you break your toe and let a word slip and your child repeats it in preschool.
   That time when your child runs screaming from a butterfly because he's seen you do it.
   That time when your child hears/sees something he shouldn't in a movie because you thought he was asleep and consequently he has nightmares for weeks.
   That time you say a disparaging word about another to your mom on the phone and your child announces it to someone else.
   That time when you speak sarcastically and your child--taking it literally--does something borderline insane.
Everyone has parent-of-the-year-award stories. Because whoever you are... if you are a parent, someone is watching. You have a 24/7 private detective observing you, sometimes five of them at a time. That is a lot of pressure. Thankfully, we haven't had too many disastrous moments ourselves yet, but the older E gets, the more I see my bad habits in him.

But one of the hard parts of parenting for me is that it isn't only the things you do that you have to be aware of; it is the things you don't do as well. If you aren't kind to others, how will your kids learn to be? If you don't keep your anger in check, how will your kids learn to? If you aren't honest, how will your kids learn to be? The best way I know to teach my kids to be strong enough to deal with the pressures of life is if I am. Granted--and very thankfully--we have a Heavenly Father and a Savior who can cover our bases when we fail (as we inevitably will), but the fact remains that whatever I want to instill in my children has to first be a part of my life. 

In essence, every day of my life I spend trying to make these little people who they need to be, and who they need to be is a way better and way stronger person than I currently am. Solution: become way better and stronger myself. This to me is the greatest challenge of parenting, but it is also the greatest blessing. As I make them stronger, I make myself stronger. As I help them grow and become better people, of necessity, I grow and become better myself.

Parenting is no cake walk that is for sure and it is only going to get more interesting from here on out, but I am awfully grateful that Heavenly Father is giving me a shot at it because boy am I learning a lot! And boy do I love my little teachers!


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