“That’s the price of what we learn: the more we know, the more we yearn.” Memento Mori, Kamelot.
Though taken totally out of context here, there is a favorite quote of mine that I find fits well in many situations. Perhaps it is put more succinctly by the power metal band, Kamelot in the previous song quote, but I think it is very apt with regard to parenting. It is a quote from science writer Richard C. Hoagland in which he is referring to the Face of Mars. He says of the study of this and similar phenomena, “The more we learn, the more we know what we did not know, and the less we understand.”
Now, Mr. Hoagland may find my use of his quote here odd, but I find it quite appropriate, and not just because kids often seem like alien beings of some type, either. Raising children is and always will be a learning experience, especially if you are doing it anywhere near right. The more you learn, the more you will certainly know what you did not know, and some stuff you may not have even wanted to know! This in itself insures that you will never ever understand completely, and may even feel you understand less and less.
To me, Richard’s words sum up child rearing quite well indeed! I have learned so much with my children, for my children, because of my children, about my children, and even from my children. My youngest is now 18, she is the fourth child in my (official, biological) parenting history, and I am still learning things I did not know, everyday.
Though my understanding of somethings is quite profound, there is far more I will never understand. Parenting is an experience where, not only do your children grow, but you yourself grow in many ways, as well. Perhaps this is even the best scenario for a parent. You are becoming a child again yourself along with them, then growing as they grow. Yet, as you are doing this, you also have to be the responsible one. That can be a touchy balancing act for anyone.
If you make it through all that, with both yourself, and your children relatively unscathed, and relatively sane and happy, you have truly accomplished something. If they grow to be good people, relatively successful, or at least happy in their own lives, and don’t scar their own children too badly in the process, then you have accomplished generations worth of something!
It is of the utmost importance that we as parents try to understand them, their situations, their friends, their lifestyle, even when we are dumbfounded by these things. The least you can do is try, and continue to try, both for them, and for yourself. Always teach them to the best of your ability, and learn from both your strengths and weakness, and theirs too in doing so. This will teach them to value both of these things, and they can then learn from them in a similar (or, if you are lucky, in an even better) manner.
The main thing, above all else, is to love them unconditionally, no matter how alien they may seem to you, and no matter how alien you may seem to them.
Source: Experience and observations from over 25 years as a parent of four (plus) children.
Quote Source : Hoagland quote from his book, The Monuments on Mars : A City on the Edge of Forever, (ISBN 1-883319-30-7), and is also found in his Cydonia Briefings videos.