By J. G. Lewis
Most, or many, of us are born into parenthood.
We don’t think of it in our younger days. We might talk about it as we get older, but then it just happens. Then—regardless of all you have experienced—you realize how aptly unprepared you are for the process, the role and the outcome.
As I see it, nothing exemplifies, or personifies, our attempt at Right Intention/Thought more than our everyday struggle to be a parent. It is a living and breathing example on how we try, how we fail, and how we wake up to do it again and again. It is a biological role, yes, but it is far from natural. Nothing prepares you for the lifelong undertaking, especially the first time around.
Of course there are books, along with all that unsolicited advice from friends, family and total strangers. We also have the examples provided by our parents, but it is a crap shoot from day one, coupled with all those expectations and all that pressure.
How did our parents do it, we wonder, at any age? How are we still managing, we wonder in this age of instant instruction where you can find almost any answer, anytime, on any device.
We try our best, we have the greatest intentions, to offer some sort of moral, or spiritual, or just practical advice. We become role models, solely because of who we are. Ah, parenting.
Mainly we work our way through our life by folly and frustration, our own beliefs as a moral compass directing not only us, but our offspring, across life’s crumpled roadmap. It is all trust and truth, as we know it. It’s one heck of a responsibility. It begins with the self.
How we chose to live is our questionable intention. It has to be right, in our own mind, for us to successfully negotiate the backlash and bullshit we encounter. Along the way we impart our knowledge (or lack thereof) onto those innocent lives who follow along. They didn’t ask for this, but we must draw on our experience and search for the right answers, the right way, and, more specifically, the right thought.
That is our intention.
At first, as we deal with newborns or toddlers, it might seem easier. There are fewer hard questions. The questions remain easy, or easier, even as the child grows. It is as if we are given an opportunity to review life from the ground floor up. As we review, we begin to search a little harder for an answer or find the wonder in the why.
We might even question our intentions as they have formed, tantamount to our temptations, testament to our transgressions. Our thoughts, as we progress, hopefully become free of guilt, shame, and unabridged anger. That is our intention, and that with which we hope to guide our children in a wholesome way.
We try. This is parenthood.
The teenage years might be the toughest, for the child (like you at that age) suddenly begin to question a little harder. They may dig in their heels in response to the talk you are walking. They may even question your intentions, and you may as well.
This can be relationship building, bonding, or pure hell.
Don’t we all like to think we remember the teenage years, and the real life lessons, better than we really do? Our mothers and fathers might have thought the same thing. And yes, we laughed at our parents the same way our children do, or did.
How (or how in the hell) you make it through these years will set the path for the way you will deal and debate with your adult children. Yes, those years suddenly sneak up on you.
Honesty can work, but is it the honesty you learned, or the honesty you are learning?
Our roles change, our goals change, and our intentions will change. We do, however, need to honour the intentions that have worked well, adjust those that may not fit, and trust those you have carried with you for a greater duration.
You will probably find your core intentions remain as they were, or as they are, no matter what your teenager thinks. You learned. So will they.
J.G. Lewis is a writer and photographer, a dreamer and wanderer, father and brother (an orphan of sorts), living in Toronto area. Formerly an award-winning journalist, he now writes mainly fiction and poetry. He practices Bikram Yoga, doesn’t take the camera out enough, and enjoys the snap, crackle and pop of music on vinyl. You can read more of J.G. on his website, www.mythosandmarginalia.com. Follow him on Facebook, catch his daily breath on Twitter at @sayit4word.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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