Parenting and Life
Modernity tries to convince you that having children is not good for the world. Intellectuals have unending arguments about why you shouldn’t have kids. They say: “It’s bad for the environment, humans are destroying the world,” or “We don’t need more poverty in the world,” or “Who wants to deal with a crying baby?” etc. They might be right, but they’re also wrong. Intellectuals always think they know better. Conflating the macro and the micro is not the same thing: whether or not you believe resources are scarce has nothing to do with the parenting experience. No amount of reasoning can help escape the wonders of what parenting brings.
This is an insight about parenting and life. About why responsible parenting and life may be the best cause to change oneself positively, to be a better person, mentor, and guide. Parenthood is commitment in its purest form.
Becoming a parent is mostly about one thing: commitment. Commitment to love, to be there for them regardless if you’re tired, not in the mood, etc. I’m pretty much new to being a father, but so far to me it seems parenting is about support, guidance, and love. And what is love? I think love is what you do to show it. It will be different from person to person. Parenting is a commitment to love. It has no expiration date. And yes, parenting isn’t perfect. Some parents leave. A number of parents divorce. Some kids suffer. But we must be careful not to confuse the arrow of causality. Those may be the effects of poor choices, but they are not caused by being a parent. In other words, parenting may expose problems, but it’s seldom the root cause.
Parenting is about emotions. When you first become a parent, you quickly realize that babies are all about expressing emotion. They cry for the first several months. Poopy diaper? Cry. Overtired? Cry. Hungry? Cry. No reason at all? Cry. But then they give you a smile worth a thousand cries. Then they laugh. On the other hand, we also experience all the range of emotions: laughter, tiredness, joy, sadness, frustration, and bliss. As a parent I’ve once again been able to be ridiculous. I’ve laughed more than I ever had in years. I’ve also been sleep deprived for the longest time in my life. We’ve (perhaps) cursed here and there, but paradoxically, all the emotions are what makes it a truly joyful experience.
Ultimately, every parent finds out that babies bring emotion back into our lives. Life gets richer. They remind us that life is not just rationality–whatever that means to you. Life is about being human, about feeling, connecting, and being there. Parenting and life aren’t exclusive of each other, but they certainly make life more meaningful.
And joy doesn’t end. It doesn’t have to. As children grow up to adulthood parents have the choice to enjoy them fully. Isn’t it fascinating you have so much to learn from them? A whole new world. What new technology, trends, and tools are they using? What specific skills have they acquired on their own? How can you be a top fan or their starting customer? Parents have so much to look forward to if you allow for it. Don’t be a know-it-all. Don’t discourage their hobbies or push your own agenda. Open yourself to the joy of learning and having fun with them.
Parenting is presence. All of a sudden you realize someone depends on you. You become present. Being (alive) is perhaps the most significant aspect of our lives. It’s the greatest gift. I need to clarify that I’m not saying you become a parent for selfish reasons. I also don’t intend to say that there aren’t any other ways that help you experience life fully, or that this is exclusive of new or experienced parents. But with much certainty, parenting and life is about the gift of being alive and sharing the meaningful moments we have with someone we love.
Parenting and life reminds us not to fall into the modernity trap, with all its well-crafted arguments of why having kids is bad for you or the world. Usually, it’s the same arguments revolving around: no kids, marriage is dumb, the world is going to end because of humans. All I hear is a lack of commitment, and of skin in the game. I hear arguments that want to be scientific but honestly sound scientistic to me. The human experience is beautiful. Not all parents have the same opportunities, and certainly you have all the right to choose whether you want to ever become one or not.
But one thing that we can all learn from parenting and life is: commitment, joy, and being present are essential ingredients in this magic we call life. I love you son!
Juan F. Diaz
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