Sunday, September 13th, 2009
What is the most important parenting quality?
A local-to-me blogger’s post today, The Baby Bug, reminded me of what parenting is about. The blogger isn’t a parent and doesn’t want to have children, but he finds himself recently helping a single mom by watching her newborn son for a few hours a week.
The experience seems to be changing him in ways that perhaps he doesn’t fully understand yet.
“Somehow the baby has affected me. Maybe it is his arrival at a time in my life when I am so self-consumed. My rather selfish nature has been turned on its ear as I look forward to offering my time to help watch the baby so the new mommy can rest. I get transfixed on the baby as I hold him, and hope that his future is one where he is healthy, and happy.”
The blogger has hit upon what I believe is the most important quality of a parent: selflessness. I came by this realization through the good fortune of observing a couple bad parents prior to becoming a father myself.
One was a dad so obsessed with his toys (yes, toys) that his own child wasn’t allowed to play with them. No, they weren’t collectibles, and yes, his favorite things were kept in a separate forbidden room.
The second was a dad who proclaimed that having a child wouldn’t change him. He’d continue to live the life he had always lived. And by golly, he did exactly that, to the detriment of his family, especially his wife who shouldered the task of raising her kids by herself.
I believe being a good parent requires you to be able to put aside your personal interests and desires to do what your children need, to put them first. If you cannot, then you begin to resent the many ways parental responsibility has forever changed your life.
You never know how a person will react when the job title of Parent is upon them, but I saw a glimpse of parental ability in The Baby Bug post and so I had to share.
Whatcha think? What are the individual qualities that lend themselves to successful parenting and which is the most important?