"The goal of being a parent is to make your child independent" - a famous phrase from my Dad. And for the longest time becoming more independent has been one of the great things about growing up. The funny thing about that quote is that up until today I always thought about that quote from the child's perspective. I thought about how my Dad was very bright for considering that it is in the child's best interest to be independent. I thought about how the child needs to be an independent thinker and someone who doesn't have to rely on their parents.
After yesterday I am starting to think about it from the parent's perspective.....and how as a parent I might interact with the world. By making your child independent then as a parent you reduce the burden you place on others. In the case of making your child independent it is probably something better for both the child and the parent. I know it sounds simple, but again I don't know if I ever considered things from the parent's perspective.
I am thinking about it from that viewpoint because my daughter places a huge burden on other people.....and that is extremely tough for someone who has always had a goal of being independent. In my mind being independent meant that you didn't need help from you parents, friends, etc. Obviously this is somewhat foolish in that throughout one's life you get help along the way, but there is a difference between accepting/getting help and setting up a life where you always need help. I never wanted to be the latter.
Now that I have a child, I realize that I will be asking for a lot of help. By asking for this help I have created an unnecessary burden that otherwise wouldn't exist. I am a burden on family members (who often need to watch her when she is sick), my coworkers (who often have to cover for me since I need to go take care of my child), my wife, passengers on a plane (who have to deal with sitting next to a fidgety child), waitstaff (who have to clean up from child), etc. Having a child means placing a burden on society that I never really considered until today.
Because of that it, is hard not to think about my Dad's saying. By making us independent he was helping me out, but he was lessening that burden from society. Obviously there will always be children, but it seems reasonable for parents to try and make their children independent -- less for the children and more the greater society in general. Maybe society is too large of a word, but there is certainly a small corner of the world that is at least partially impacted by our decisions. We have tried to make the right decisions, but sometimes when our full-time daycare calls sending L home it means that either 1) one of us will take off work 2) someone will watch L. That is our struggle right now because neither option above is a good decision.
Anyway, I know I haven't posted in a long time and don't think the above means that life or being a Dad isn't going well. Actually both are going extremely well. I could write on and on about how amazing L can be. She constantly amazes me with her actions, vocabulary and personality. It is great being a parent. It just also means that the preceding paragraphs are also true.