4 Lessons parenting has taught me
When we feel entitled to a thing, we assume we deserve it. Whatever we deserve, we are not grateful for. After all, it is our right to have such. An entitled attitude, thus, takes away our sense of gratitude.
It is a privilege to be a parent, not a right. Admitting that parenthood is a privilege creates an environment to be grateful for whatever comes with it; the good, bad and ugly. When we see people who do not have children of their own, it is only a gentle reminder that what we have is not our own.
Being a parent has afforded me the opportunity to live each day with gratitude. I am not only grateful for the life of my child but I am even more grateful for my own life. Ultimately, the dream of every parent is to have life and strength to take care of their own children.
Permit me to kindly share with you a few life lessons I have learnt on this journey.
Always give it time!
When our son, Animuonyam, was a few months old, I remember we bought him some clothes. They were too big for him. Some shorts looked like a pair of trousers on him. He could wear some but not others.
A few months on, the same clothes he could not wear fitted him perfectly. He has even outgrown some of them because they look too small on him. I asked myself, “What happened? Same clothes. Same person.” Well, time happened!
Many times, we fret over a lot of things because we refuse to give such time. Time allows everything to make sense to us. If we could be a little patient, we would have nodded at everything that is going wrong in our lives; the job or opportunity we lost, how broke we have consistently been, etc.
Give yourself time. You will smile tomorrow over the same things that are causing you pain today. With time comes growth. Whatever you give time to, you grow to conquer.
No matter what, your situation is not the worst!
Animuonyam was born vaginally with a birth weight of 4.6kg. Amazing huh!? This led to an injury to his right arm during delivery. This was the first time the word “brachial plexus injury” was thrown at us. He had to start physiotherapy sessions, just three days after birth, which lasted for about three months or so.
Attending these sessions brought to us the reality that our case was even a minor one. Other children were going through worse. Some had been enduring the pain of these sessions for more than a year. I could only consider our plight and be overwhelmed with gratitude.
Comparing ourselves with others should make us grateful, not bitter. When we feel like complaining about how bad our situation is, we need to remember that others are enduring something worse. Whatever life throws at us is not the worst ever. Others are daily living with situations that make ours a blessing.
People are watching!
Over the past few months, I have seen Animuonyam grow from a baby to a toddler. I have observed him try to speak. He now walks and this is where one needs to keep an eye on him whenever he decides to take a stroll.
One interesting habit I have noticed him cultivating is the habit of repeating what he hears people around him say or do. Even though whatever he says may not be lucid, one can discern what he is trying to say.
In life, people are watching us; whether intentionally or unintentionally. This is why we have to be intentional about our character because we are models to them. From afar, they are modelling their principles after ours. They are comparing their likes and dislikes to ours.
We must be intentional about how we speak. Closely, others are following us and wherever we turn will be their direction. When it has all been said and done, we must beat our chest in certainty that we led those who were watching us on the right path.
Do your thing!
Parenting is tough, especially for first-time parents. Everybody wants to tell you how to do this or that. They will tell you what worked for them and just when another comes in with another unsolicited advice, it will conflict with theirs.
In life, create your own path and walk on it. What worked for others may not necessarily work for you. Saul gave David expensive armour to fight Goliath. That was what they had used in times past and it worked for them. However, that was not what was going to work for the shepherd boy. All he needed was a catapult and five stones.
People may be right when they want to suggest a certain path to you. They will show you evidence of how it worked for others. Be reminded, however, that the condition(s) under which this path was successful may be different from yours. Use wisdom and… do your own thing!
Kobina Ansah is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm. The launch of his son’s animation book, Animuonyam The Bully Stopper, is slated for next week Saturday, September 17, 2022 at British Council at 4pm. Free admittance.