As parents, this sort of feedback is always a shot in the arm because, as you would know if you are one, you never really know how you’re doing. And often, we only see what we could have done better with hindsight. So having such words spoken while ‘still on the ground’ is true encouragement indeed.
Naturally, I’ve been thinking about what was said. To take credit for our children is a bit like handing someone a toolbox, watching them build a house and then tell everyone we built a house.
You see, to me, parenting is really about providing our children with the tools for living. Which tools they pick up and use, and which ones they deem unnecessary is entirely up to them.
Essentially, they are building the house and deciding which tools they’ve been given will build them the kind of house they want to live in. They are hammering the nails in, deciding where the walls go, whether the house faces east or south, how many rooms it has. Sure, we may be called in for advice, or handed a paintbrush every so often but they are building their house.
Of course, as parents we hope that once their house is built, it will be a place we like to be in, and a place where our child will want to invite others to enjoy.
But at the end of the day, it’s their house, not ours. And while we hope to admire it and to even show it off occasionally to our friends, all credit should go to the child for how they have built it, not us.
So to our child who may, or may not, be reading this – please own what was said about you. You have made you who you are, not us. I’m just delighted that your ‘house’ is already somewhere I love to be and where I know many others love to spend time, too.