It's my favorite time of year again! Christmas is big in our house, really big, like tacky neon Santa big!
While preparing for this year's festivities I noticed a few additions that weren't there before, babies and lots of them. I suppose it is only natural to start seeing babies popping up when you’re in your 30s. Few things bring life into perspective the way having a child can. Being called daddy has a way of changing the game of life and reminding you you're not just up to bat; you're now coaching the team. But coaching is much different than playing and not every good player can be a good coach.
The idea of becoming a parent is overwhelming to me. There's no turning back, no refund policy and definitely no training manual with the little one's arrival. We do what we can to prepare and wait for the day we call ourselves parents; limited by the only experiences we have, trying to teach our kids the only things we know.
Various preparation strategies exist for future parents such as taking classes, gathering items, and reading parenting books. My wife and I also discovered a significant number of people who did little to prepare at all, no need to I guess, love is all you require they kept telling us . . . I'm scared of the lifelong marathon of parenting and what will undoubably test our relationship, patience, intelligence, and finance.
Listen, unlike the new yoga pose you tried last weekend a good effort doesn't cut it in the parenting world. Our best efforts might be acceptable to us but may fall short of providing the necessary tools for our next generation to solve their problems. These lacks of personality traits have a ripple effect that leaves formative gaps in development throughout adulthood.
Kayla is her name and she is our first child arriving just in time to be put under the Christmas tree. Everyone has been congratulating me, like I had achieved something worthy of great praise. Truth is if you practice, try often, and focus really hard you too can probably have a child of your own. Congratulate me in thirty years when we can more accurately assess my parenting skills.
It all started during a vacation last year in Thailand where my wife and I discussed the idea of having kids. "We're ready!" she said with a convincing smirk. "I'm scared," I replied. But I've always been scared before a big game, before an important exam, and this was no small decision. The world is a scary place and to succeed you'll need more than love, you'll need resources to get you the psychological filters necessary to cope with the endless challenges life throws at you.
With concerning statistics on self esteem and rocketing rates of depression, our young people are coping with more stressors than I can remember. Psychologist will tell you that there are two basic psychological needs for fulfillment, purpose and acceptance. How we define success is what changes over time and who we need acceptance from rounds off our sense of fulfillment.
Holidays are a great time for us to stop, reflect, and assess if our current priorities are achieving the desired goals. To determine if where we have chosen to invest our time and energy are paying off the way we intended or will our children pay for the poor investments we made on their behalf?
As community officer focusing on crime prevention, my resolution for 2013 is to make more investments in our young people through the promotion of strong parenting strategies. By working with our community and service providers, I hope to help educate families to build capacity and address the challenges that hinder the potential of our future generation.
Best wishes this holiday season from our family.