I’m not sure where the saying comes from, but it feels fitting to say that when it comes to being a father, I’m still very green behind the ears. I mean my daughter is only two and a half.
Parenting is something else! Even if children came with an instruction manual, each one would be as different from the next one as a snowflake is to its snow storm. So, I suppose I can take solace in the fact that no parent REALLY knows what they’re doing.
Let’s be honest, parents! We may think we know how to be a good parent. But, assuming you actually have your own children, what worked for one child may not work for the next. Hence, why you can present a parenting conundrum to a group of 6 friends and receive 6 different answers. And forget asking your own parents for the right answer. Sure, they may have a few decades of experience raising you. But what was relevant 20-30 years ago may not “work” today, or may even be considered harmful according to your family doctor.
That being said there are a few constants in parenting that can perhaps be considered universal.
1. Children need food and shelter
Yes, I am Captain Obvious. But as a new parent, one word of advice given to me that put my mind at ease was, as long as they’re still alive after the first year, you have succeeded as a parent. I aced that one! Shiloh is very much alive and kicking.
Parenting is hard, and you won’t get everything right. And there will be plenty of people to remind you you’re doing it wrong–with love of course. But if your baby comes out of his or her first 12 months alive and kicking, you’ve done well! (Now, reach your right hand over your left shoulder, and pat lightly). Good job!
2. Children need love
I spent my Junior year of university in Nairobi, Kenya, studying at an institution neighbouring an orphanage.