We are all children and remain so throughout our lives.
The love of our parents is a prerequisite for us to feel secure in the world. Our parents shape us in the first years of life like no one else.
We cannot decide where we are born and also not whether we wanted to be born. It is a matter of fate or luck and we cannot choose which parents we have. We are born into the lives of our parents.
Life attitudes and values, lifestyle and circumstances format us, so to speak.
I have always had a split relationship with my parents, precisely because of their divorce, and thus with parenthood.
I could not imagine having children. On the one hand, because I am constantly afraid for them, in which world will they live, which challenges will they face?
But also because I am afraid of giving them too much of myself. To transfer my primal fears and mistrust, my doubts and psychoses to them.
Now that I’m a father myself, I have to admit, it’s worse than I expected. The parenting job is the most horrible in the world, with lousy pay and constant over time.
My fears are one thing, but I often fall back on methods of my parents out of nowhere when parenting and it scares me.
No one can prepare you for parenthood and even what kids you get and how they turn out often seems random and a matter of luck. A mixture of genes and peer groups and your own situation in life, a thousand parameters influence the little ones.
I lose my temper way too often and constantly reach my limits. My children seem to love me anyway. This love is the strongest and most gratifying feeling I have experienced so far. My love for them as well. No one can prepare for or anticipate something like this.
I want my children to become free-thinking, independent living, happy people.
I want to give them advice and support and actually just protect them around the clock. But this is not possible and will not do them any good, I have to learn to bring the support and the letting go into a reasonable balance and I have to learn to speak with the children, in their language.
With them, I get the chance to experience my life from a completely new perspective and they teach me more about myself and the world every day than anyone or anything else.
With an open heart and when I am really with them, I see the world in a new way, marveling at seemingly small things, a tree, a bus, a beautiful color, a train, an ice cream.
They live in the now and know no yesterday and no tomorrow. They express their needs immediately. Their default mood is happy unless they are hungry, thirsty, or tired.
As Kahlil Gibran so aptly writes:
„Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.“
That’s what I have to learn.
Poem ‚On Children‘ from The Prophet (Knopf, 1923). This poem is in the public domain.