Monday, December 1, 2008

Unconditional Love

The only genuine love worthy
of the name is unconditional.

~John Powell

It occurred to me some time ago that I would not be a parent if I did not have children. Or similarly, that a teacher could not be a teacher without students. To lead in any sense of the word, leaders must have followers. This sounds like a simple statement of fact. But, in fact, it is a concept missed by many--including me for many years.

Speaking of parenting specifically: it is not enough to make the declaratory statement "I am parent" without the child going along with it at at some level. Thus, parenting is in a sense a pact with a child to accept leadership given until proven otherwise, just as one accepts any other leader. It is NOT a god-given fact that a child must follow his parents lead, if that lead is faulty.

The role of parenting is learning by instinct and weighing the child's reactions to parental behavior. Thus, a "sharing" of information is set up between parent and child--and BOTH learn in the life-long process. New parents have very little to give a child besides love and nurturing. Both parent and child grow up together, each learning valuable lessons in the process. Watch any interaction between parent and child and look at the molding of the parent by the child that is taking place.

Parent and child teach one another about the give and take of relationships, negotiation, emotional and physical safety as well as selfless giving. It is about learning to just plain get along when getting along is not at the top of the list. Certainly, the demands of a household such as cooking, cleaning and laundry create a practical learning environment for parent and child. For the parent, it is how to get it all done with a busy work schedule; for the child it is just to learn how.

A healthy respect for the child in its role as parental teacher is key to understanding the many universal lessons of parenting. Those of us who are parents can thank our children for their patience, love and acceptance of less than exemplary behavior on our part as we grew up under their tutelage. Children can thank their parents some day for the same.

Of Note: I recently came across this piece I wrote back in January, 2004 and thought of sharing it today. This little tike is one of my grandsons on Thanksgiving Day exploring the fallen leaves in great-grandma's backyard. Auntie Marie did the honors of snapping the shot.

Today's Weather Report: Morning brought a light dusting of snow. The flakes were big and fell slowly in a swirling pattern, as if they could not decide which way to turn next. That did not last long, however, and the sun popped out unexpectedly to shine its warm rays upon the white scene.

No comments: