September 27, 2011

Courageous Parenting

We here at the Used Diaper Salesman have a slogan that pretty much sums up the miraculous conundrum that is parenting: It ain't for the faint of heart.

Most of us are in for a rude awakening once our children discover that they have a will of their own. The idyllic Hollywood family is mostly a flat-out fake, but most of us don't truly begin to understand that until our kids start teething, talking, and tantruming, the last of which is not actually a word, only a term that I made up because my powers of alliteration are a little slow this morning and I couldn't think of anything better. The fact that I'm explaining this to you at all should tell you that I'm short on sleep and very well-caffeinated this morning, and really not at the top of my game. So because you're obviously in for some stream-of-consciousness and I don't want things to get out of hand, I'll try to keep this a bit shorter than usual. Also, I really need to go get another cup of coffee.

So, random tangents aside, we've agreed that parenting is not usually what we thought it was going to be, right? If you said "no", you're a big fat liar. If you gave the correct answer, you're among the vast majority who have by now realized three great truths, which are as follows. 1. My kids aren't perfect, 2. Neither am I, and 3. We never will be.

The reason? We're all selfish creatures by nature. Children are the perfect showcase for this fact, because they act on impulse and instinct, and those impulses rarely include sharing with or helping someone else. I'm sorry to break it to you, but we humans are not basically good, as it turns out. We've simply developed civilizations that make it unnecessary to kill each other over food and club our desired mate over the head and drag her (or him) off to our cave. We civilized adults have mostly learned to control those impulses, but it's ultimately a choice, and this applies nowhere more than within our families. A parent who goes against their nature and serves their family selflessly will have a better chance of success, and as horrible as I am at doing that much of the time, it's still my goal.

Think about it. It takes courage to set your own needs aside in favor of those of your spouse and kids. And with that said, I'd like to encourage you dads out there to take the time to go see a new movie that's coming out this weekend. It's called (surprise!) "Courageous", and it looks to be a great drama about four cops, regular guys who overcome a variety of challenges and obstacles in the interest of becoming better dads and husbands. You can check out the trailer and get more information here. Moms, you can go too. Here's the poster:

Okay, gotta go. The coffee machine is calling my name.

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