You are a good enough parent, I swear to God, but you could be better. A contradiction? Very well then. Let’s make some parenting resolutions where we become better by giving up on being better, or by being better by becoming less comfortable, to wallow awhile, to be guilty and smile. Largeness. Multitudes. A 21st c. parent needs the stamina for treading water in our own hypocrisy without swimming like crazy for the shores of coherence. You’re good enough. Pat pat pat. Be good enough better.
Here’s my 5 New Year’s Parenting Resolutions.
1). Okay, 2014. I’m tired of feeling hyper self-consciousness about every single everything that occurs when I share space/time with my kids. I resolve to remember that this entire paradigm of the parent’s enormous and permanent impact on the child, on the construction of the child, is merely a 100-year-old model for understanding ourselves created by Sigmund Freud and called psychoanalysis. You there. The one thinking OF COURSE THE CHILD IS A PARENTAL PRODUCT, DUH! You’re thinking inside a paradigm of causal ideation, which is a fancy word for myth, which is not a bad word, but a word used for fictional and provisional modes of understanding that pose, often for centuries, as “the Truth.” And some truths are better than others.
My kids are the moment-to-moment products of an infinitely complicated web of interconnection of world historical events coupled with the atlas of their destinies that originally called them into our world. If other parents want to perpetuate the notions that their mistakes and successes make or break the lives of their children as adults, my hat is off to their mind-boggling arrogance and distorted sense of power. Must be a lot of pressure being God. I resolve to be a man who takes little to no credit for the mystery of my kids’ identities. Cancer curing geniuses. Axe murderers. Or everyday people struggling and smiling through the pangs of mediocrity and anonymity, they are here to become who they are. In that process I trust with a humble appreciation for the role I play. I have a role. It’s just not as large as the publishers of parenting manuals would like me to believe.
2). I resolve to make sure that, on a daily basis, my children either see my face or hear my voice. I make this resolution in an effort to mend the separation that selfishness creates. I want to turn away from myself toward them, to practice this, to make this my practice, and keep practicing.
3). I resolve to, through my own actions and explicit teachings, show my kids that what most requires our attention in the 21st c. is the way we imagine the environment, women, and the value of diversity.
4). I resolve to pay more attention to my kids, to remember that everything thrives in attention, that attention itself is a synonym for love and creating.
5). I resolve to continue bringing integrity to my struggle between being an authority figure and a lover of irreverence. Do the right thing, kids. Do the wrong thing. And keep seeking that elusive pulse where the evolution of life depends on the wrong thing being right. Happy New Year again and again and again and again. Make it always new again.
Read more from me at Black Hockey Jesus.
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