It was our recent trip to the country’s largest IKEA that prompted this blog!
It was our first time walking through this monstrosity of a home goods store. We didn’t think we were going to buy anything, we just wanted to walk around, but we grabbed a bag. By the time we got to the checkout stand, we had a bag, shopping cart, and a flatbed cart! A few cool things later and a dresser. We get the dresser home and open all three boxes with mixed parts and minimal assembly instructions when it struck me!
This is like parenting!!!!
Just figure it out along the way. Try and fit some pieces, and it will eventually come together and hopefully not fall apart when you are done.
A friend of ours once said when he purchased his first flat-screen TV it came with a two hundred page handbook, but when his wife gave birth to their firstborn, the doctor handed him his son and said: “Congratulations, it’s a boy.” He was like – wait, how do I do this? What does he need?
No handbook, no instructions-
In a recent conversation with a new mom, she expressed the dynamics that come with being a new mom. She loves her baby very much, but the demands were something she had no idea would consume her every waking moment. So much so they made some real-life changes to make sure they have the support they needed.
No instructions, just trying to do their best with love.
What folks don’t tell you when you start on this incredible rollercoaster ride called parenting, it is one of the hardest jobs out there! With no set instructions!
Oh sure there are plenty of parenting books, I think I’ve read them all, well all related to raising sons and how to be a good parent. But what they do not to tell you is what to do when all those books fail, when all those suggestions don’t produce the results you were hoping for?
You see, there are no real instructions…
I once asked a dear friend whose children are now adults which phase of parenting was the most challenging, and he said when they are adults! Wait! What?! I thought when they became adults, we were done with our worries and sleepless nights and crying out to God…well, it turns out it’s when you do that the most. He went on to say, they are adults, you have no influence or control over their lives. You advise if they ask and you can only hope they see the train that’s coming towards them on the tracks.
There are still no instructions!
Remember, when you see a family facing a challenge with their child, know this, that experience they are having with that particular child, there are no set instructions. Each child is an individual, and they assert themselves how they think they should.
Like our children, we guide them, set boundaries, love them, feed them, protect them, encourage them, cheer them on when they are trying their best. Stand by them when their world comes undone and dust them off when they fall.
There are no instructions in this, just love, hope, and prayer.
As they continue to grow in stature, and in maturity, they will still need those same things, so hold on to those extra pieces.
We create instructions for each child as they grow. We match the parts that fit them and glue together the pieces that work and pray that it sticks. Hopefully, when we are ready to release our children to adulthood, we have a beautiful piece of human life full of compassion, empathy, kindness, respect, selflessness that comes together as a strong part of your family portrait. All put together with no set instructions- only those that you created along the way that belongs to your individual child.
Prayer is the glue that keeps most of the pieces together. It takes a village to raise a child. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you can’t figure out what to do. Someone has already read through the instructions before you.
*Original Post August 2017
– Annette Ortiz Mata