Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Parental Obsolescence

Last night was the first night in nearly seven years that I spent alone in my own home-not counting the dogs.

I was able to work as late as I wanted, eat what I wanted, watch what I wanted to watch on TV. It was great.

Of course, it didn't take me long to realize that I was getting a view of the coming attractions-more and more nights left to my own devices as my daughter spends more time with her friends and less with me.

Since I had some time, I began to to think about our role as parents. What is our primary job-keeping them safe, healthy and happy, educated and clothed and of course, loved. Surely those things are critical to raising a child, but I was groping for the "why" rather than the "how" of parenting.

Then it hit me-our primary job is to make ourselves obsolete-just like the manufacturer of that fancy laptop you bought two years ago planned its obsolenscence to get you back in the computer buying game!

Isn't our real job preparing our kids to grasp their futures? We are preparing them for the time when we won't be available to guide them. We are preparing them to take their place in the world-on their own and without us.

Of course, I don't want to make myself obsolete too soon, I do realize that the balance of power is slowly shifting as my daughter gets older. At the end of the day, she will have to make the call on how to act or react to any given situation.
The best I can do is give her the tools that will guide her over the course of her life and hope she uses them.

The ability to thrive in most situations with most people in a positive and non-judgemental way is one of the most powerful tools that we give our children. We need to remind our children-and ourselves-that we need to look beyond our differences and make judgements based on things other than color, race, culture, religion etc. When we get there our obsolescence will be survivable for our kids.

For this Thanksgiving, however, I am not quite ready to throw in the towel-I still have some tools to pass on to my daughter. And I am planning to enjoy doing just that-while I am still the #1 person in her life.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

With Respect

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