get bored so they have a kid.
Besides, parents don’t know
was in the middle of coffee with a business associate.
We had been discussing a production deadline.
It was all hard, fast, input-output type information
was sharp and to the point, outlining very precisely what
was required, when and how.
The economy of words on both sides was typical of the
nature of discussions we have.
As I attempted to make some notes, I pushed aside my
now empty cup with its little teddy bear chocolate biscuit
on the side of the saucer.
I have that?” Grant asked, his fingers already holding the
smiled, grateful for the break, knowing it would not last
long, then teased, “Oh, I was going to save that for my
and by now having consumed the poor teddy, he said, “What
she doesn’t know, she won’t miss”.
His voice had softened a little.
My little boy never lets me have the teddies either,” he
didn’t return to talking shop for another fifteen minutes.
couldn’t help observing, and not for the first time
either, how children really do impact upon us, sometimes in
ways so subtle that we hardly notice.
Talking about our children revealed an aspect of
Grant’s and my personalities that we don’t often
seem softer and more ‘rounded’, as if the rough edges of
our personalities that we’ve tried for so long to smoothen
out, have finally been polished off by our offspring.
Where we’ve been hard and uncompromising, we’re
now, sometimes despite ourselves, melting to the words
we’ve been unforgiving and punitive, we’re now learning
to listen and understand and accept the shortcomings of our
fellow human beings. Where
we’ve been rigid about times and schedules, we’re now
trained to be more flexible about delays arising from such
urgencies as “I need to go!”
are some of the most precious gifts that any human could
possibly receive. And
whilst we may bask in the glory of their many achievements,
from taking their first step to graduating from college, the
nature of their gift is clearly much more intricate and
pervasive than most of us are aware of.
The fact that they do shape us, as much as we do
them, is a gift that unfolds from the gift of their physical
form and presence. They
are some of the best teachers we will ever have in our
was never known for my patience, I freely admit, but my kids
have taught me patience in a big way, and I am grateful to
them for it! I haven’t been completely
reconditioned, but I know I’m a good way there.
friend once told me that as a child, she had never been
hugged or kissed by her parents.
With her own kids, however, I have observed countless
incidents of kissing and hugging.
What a truly wonderful thing to have learnt, and
where her parents might have failed to teach, her children
remember one evening coming home from work feeling utterly
drained. I had
brutal deadlines to meet and little energy to draw on.
My son, who had been relating a funny incident from
school, soon realized that he hadn’t quite captured my
attention when my only response to the punch line was a
glazed expression. He
stopped abruptly, took both my hands in his, led me to the
bean bag, sat me down, and planted a balm of a kiss on my
forehead that would have lasted at least a minute and a
half. When he
finally withdrew his lips, he said: "Now mum,
that was a healing kiss.
Are you feeling better?"
Was I ever! We
have never forgotten that little invention of his, and
frequently employ it when things get a little frantic and
spirits a bit frail. And
I have my son, who was six at the time, to thank!
exert their influence in other ways too.
Don’t for one moment think that only parents ever
employ reverse psychology to influence their children’s’
notice how you make an extra effort to go shopping with your
child when she or he tells you in the most understanding,
almost sympathetic voice, that she or he knows you don’t
really have time? Don’t
blame them for being great learners!
now and again, when I do remember to do it, I tell my
children of the ways they inspire me and how I believe I
have been shaped by them (physically, too, I might add, but
let's not go there!). Sometimes,
they respond with incredulity, but more and more they are
taking me seriously and respond with quiet pride.
These are moments I treasure, and would hope become
part of the legacy of my spirit that will remain with them
long after I have completely expended the energy of my
that I think of it, I wonder what a Book of Thanks to our
children would contain?
I think I might like to start one today. . . talk to