You know, there’s no instruction manual for raising a child. Sure, there are thousands of resources now but even back thirty years ago, when my wife and I were experiencing parenting for the first time, the resources were somewhat limited compared to today’s computer age with the internet and everything and whole TV channels devoted to parenting. We used our parents’ behaviour and tactics as our guideline, like so many generations before us, and tried to keep the good stuff and discard the bad, or as it may be termed…“flying by the seat of our pants”.
There was Dr. Benjamin Spock, of course, not to be confused with Star Trek’s Mr. Spock or you’d really be raising a weirdo, who, along with his wife Jane Cheney, (Doctor Spock’s wife that is), penned the 1946 book, Dr. Spock's Baby & Child Care. The book has sold 50 million copies in 49 countries and if you Google “#1 Child Rearing Doctor”, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s name still comes up first.
Then again, with a brand new baby in the house who had time to read a book anyway? What with the feeding and the diaper changes, and to start with we used cloth ones if you can possibly imagine, and bathing and dressing and undressing and feeding and diaper changes and bathing and rocking and walking them to sleep…then along comes baby number two and then number three and years and years go by and we’re like… “where’d that book go? You know the one…the Mr. Spock book or whatever it’s called…the one that tells you how to do this stuff.”
And time, as it is wont to do, passes by so quickly and the children are graduating high school already and none of them has done jail time, or anything, so maybe you didn’t do such a bad job anyway and you continue on your merry way because what’s the sense in looking up how to raise a child now that you’re almost done. But…you’re never done. You are always a parent and they are always a child…your child.
So what’s the litmus test? What are the indicators that you have performed the task properly? The above mentioned jail time could be considered an indicator. How they care for their own children is another indicator. Of course, they won’t do it as good as you did it but neither did you to your parents, if you know what I mean. School marks, extracurricular activities, interaction with others, maturity, ethics, (work and otherwise) are all clear indicators of how well your parenting skills are.
Without breaking my arm patting myself on the back I think Debbie and I did a pretty good job with our parenting. None of our three children have been to jail…too long…just kidding…and they are hard-working, well-adjusted, civilized adults with two out of our three children raising their children and improving on the parenting they were, and are, subjected to.
But you don’t have to believe me. If there was ever a doubt that we were worthy of our parenting skills it was cast aside last week when we toured Casino Regina with our youngest daughter, Emily, who has been employed there as a Marketing Analyst for the past three-and-a-half years and will be leaving her job and her Casino family at the end of August to further her education. The interaction with her fellow employees and their true affection and respect for her was quite evident. They impressed upon us time and again how she will be terribly missed and what a “wonderful young woman you’ve raised there”. That…was all the litmus we needed.
“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”-Jackie Kennedy. (1929-1994).