| Who would argue that the greatest miracle of life is that
of reproducing another human being who is half yourself and half the one
you love best?
Bringing a new life into the world is nothing less than
It has also been said that children are a gift from God.
No one would dispute that, including those who do not accept the existence
of any kind of deity. However, there are times in a parent's experience
when children seem to have come from another source than God and the word
"gift" just doesn't seem to be appropriate. Kids can be an absolute
blessing and, at times, a major cause of stress and frustration.
Everybody loves a baby.
From the moment the little guy/gal is born, a continuous
line of family members and friends have
to oogle what is, as Bill Cosby has pointed out, more akin to a bunch of
Jello than a real human being.
These tiny little creatures remind us of the circle of
life. In them, we see our best hopes for the future and the bringing
together of two people's love for one another. They are indeed miraculous.
Babies coo and flash sweet little smiles. They are
so soft and cuddly to hold and look just like angels when they are sleeping.
They also make horrible messes in their diapers, produce
awful screaming sounds when they are hungry, and cry all night long when
you are trying to get some sleep to face the next day.
The good and the bad.
Our four children were fine until their second birthdays.
It is my personal belief that, just as there is a tooth
fairy, there is also a terrible-twos fairy. This little winged creature
quietly slips into the homes of good, decent, hard working parents and
makes a bee-line for their toddler's bedroom. Before this foul little
creature makes her exit, she taps their innocent child on the forehead
with her prickly little wand and-- Whammo! What was once a sweet
little baby wakes up the next morning with a new mission--to make everyone's
life a living Hell. Well, figuratively speaking, that is.
Something was wrong with our first one. The
terrible-twos fairy must have accidentally left him off of her list.
It can happen. However, she was right on time with the other three.
The next few years can be summarized as your child
pitting his/her will against your will. This is where your toddler
decides to take every item out of the toy box and throw them all over the
room. Of course, you tell the child to clean up the room but for
some reason the child has gone deaf. To help the child, you
show it how to pick up one of the toys and put it back in the toy box.
Upon doing this, the child looks at you as if to say, "Keep going.
You are doing just fine."
A committed parent
will experience hours of will-testing just to teach one lesson. On
the other hand, parents who blow it at this stage are in for major problems
later on. Children who have been taught early on that they
will not always get what they want or be able to do as they please now
have a good chance of making it to the next stage. Those who do not
learn this lesson at this stage can actually continue their terrible twos
up through the failure of their first three
marriages. Those who have been married to such people will agree
with the last sentence.
Toddlers can be adorable. They can also be horrid.
The good and the bad.
The Young Child
to now, your child has been totally dependent upon you. Now that
they are beginning to be socialized within the context of a school classroom,
they are beginning to discover something new--friends. They will
need these for the rest of their lives. Girls will use them later
on to share tidbits of other people's business and boys will use them to
tell each other how slick they are with the girls. Having friends
starts at this level.
With these friendships comes the
natural exposure to different kinds of lifestyles. As your children
visit the homes of their friends, they will begin to inform you about such
things as, "Tommy's parents let him stay up until midnight and he can watch
anything on television that he wants to see." Your response will
be something like, "Well, you are not Tommy and we are not Tommy's parents,
so turn off the television and go to bed." Even before the words
get out of your mouth, you will already sense that anything you say will
no longer be accepted if it conflicts with their notion of what they want.
Tommy knows more than you do. This mindset will last until your child
has children of his/her own. After that, you will become their all-knowing
expert and also the place where they will leave their children every Friday
You will also enjoy many wonderful
experiences at this stage. Play with your children. Take them
to places where you can be a family together. Give them lots of hugs,
kisses, and "I love you"s. Go to the parent-teacher conferences,
the school plays, and all of their tee-ball games. You see, this
time in life flies by at jet speed. If you don't take the time to
enjoy them, you will regret it for the rest of your life.
So, until they figure out
that Tommy's parents were basically irresponsible and that you were indeed
a loving, responsible parent, remember that this stage is filled with plenty
The good and the bad.
to now, you have been on a Sunday school picnic. On your child's
thirteenth birthday, another fairy comes along and inflicts your child
with the "3 Rs" -- Relationships, Rebellion, and Rock 'n' roll. This
is not good.
Of course, if you talk to
the psychologists, they will tell you that the need of teenagers to express
themselves regarding their natural romantic
attraction to others is a good thing. They will go on to remind you
that the tendency to rebel is inherent in all human beings as is the need
to get out and have some fun wherever it might be found. No doubt,
they are right on all counts.
However, from a parent's point
of view, you would much rather that they would remain innocent, respectful,
and very quiet. Since this is not going to happen, it doesn't matter
that you have been an athiest up to now. It's now time to start believing
in God because you are going to need a lot of supernatural intervention
from some kind of deity to help you get through the next several years.
The birth of your child may have been a miracle but now you are going to
need one of your own to survive until someone finally has a twentieth birthday.
Still, there will be plenty of wonderful
shared moments together. Be involved in their lives and don't make
excuses regarding how busy you are to get out of going to their sports
events, school presentations, and taking part in those community events
where teens and parents are encouraged to do good things together.
Make special times where you can have time to talk with them. Be
a good listener and avoid making declarations of how they are to think.
Rather, share your views of life and give them a little slack when it comes
to figuring some things out for themselves.
My best memories in life are those
of building a stereo cabinet with my oldest son, watching my oldest daughter
play varsity basketball, teaching my youngest son how to play tee-ball,
and accompanying my youngest daughter with my guitar when she sang solos
in church. Don't cheat yourself out of your own special memories.
Give them the space that they need but be there for them when they need
you more. Their teenage years will be the best years of both of your
They'll drive you crazy with
their desire to feel grown up long before they ever become mature while
providing you with some very nice moments as
When the day comes that they
walk across a high school auditorium stage and receive their diploma, you
will know that it has all been well worthwhile.
I've had the experience of
dropping off my oldest at a college in another city--of standing outside
our home watching another one of our children get into a car with his Marine
recuriter to go off to basic training. It was those moments that
forced me to recall all of those special moments from the time we brought
each of them home as babies to seeing them finally reach the point where
they were able to leave the nest and begin their own lives as responsible,
I remembered the good and
the bad and, all of a sudden, the bad began to fade and all what was good
became the best memories of a lifetime.
© all rights reserved - 10/22/2001
The mission of this not-for-profit website is to promote clear insights
and toleration regarding the many variations of primary relationships that
exist in our world. We ask for neither acceptance or approval but
hope that each visitor who reviews the pages of this site will leave them
with a better understanding of the numerous cultural, historical, preferential,
religious, sexual, and sociological approaches to coupling that have always
existed and will continue to exist as long as there are at least two human
beings living on this planet. If the effort put into creating and
maintaining this site results in others coming to the realization that
the basic human need to love and be loved takes on many forms which are
accepted by those who practice them, whether right or wrong as determined
by the personal belief system of others, then it will have served it's