In a moment of parental defeat, my mother in law passed along these wonderful words of wisdom – “Your best will always be good enough.” Of course, I didn’t believe her. Against my best efforts, my kids caught colds, fell down, failed tests, and weren’t always well-behaved in public. What was I missing?
Clearly, I was missing the big picture. A child’s success depends on more than just the efforts of a parent; for regardless of effort, other factors play a role. Experience is probably the biggest factor. Kids have to get sick to build strong immune systems, fall down to learn how to get back up, fail tests to be motivated, or be called out by someone other than a parent to learn social grace.
It wasn’t until I had experienced the ‘inevitable’ factor that I realized my mother in law’s advice was right on the mark. This factor is the one that is out of the parent’s control. This is the factor that gives the parent peace of mind knowing the responsibility of raising good, healthy kids is not 100% theirs and even if they have tried their very best, stuff happens!
Last week my girlfriend sent me a photo of a greenish, fuzzy hand-sized item peaking out of a plastic lunch container. I knew exactly what it was before the caption came through.
“Joys of being a mom? Found in son’s swim bag-can’t tell what kind of sandwich it is -perhaps egg-which would help to explain the stench???”
Trying your darnedest to provide the best for your child can often leave you hanging your head in defeat. Don’t let it! Let life’s experiences and those inevitable events be part of your child’s upbringing. Doing too much for our kids is almost worse than not doing enough. The world is not dependent on you doing your best. However, knowing your best will always be good enough will leave you with a sense of peace that is well deserved.