Monday, January 21, 2013

How did you become the parent you are?

I don't think my big sister realizes just how significant an influence she's had on who I am and who +Liam Shepherd  and Cora are. If it weren't for her, we would have ended up much more mainstream and socially acceptable. We certainly wouldn't have been capable of the kind of love and respect that has driven us to become so unusual.

There are many examples, small and large, of ways she's supported and encouraged us once we were already traveling our paths. The secret, though, is that she put us onto this path in the first place. It was the smallest of things. She gave me some art for the wall at Liam's baby shower. A poem about raising children.

Those first few years were very hard for me. It seemed like anything that could go wrong, did. On top of which, I didn't exactly have a sitcom perfect childhood to use as a template for how to parent. I actually went to sitcoms for specific strategies. When it came to my day to day ideals about how to live and how to treat my children, though, I went back to this poem. Over and over. Sometimes several times per day. I took it literally. I took it figuratively. It was my sacred text. It was the guiding principal behind most of my choices those first few years.

Those choices formed the foundation for my ideals as a parent. They taught me to value the attitudes and beliefs that I eventually found mirrored in the members of the LDS church. They are the basis for the values and beliefs I've taught my children. As such, they're the seed their personalities have been built upon.

Over the years, I've added to my library of resources and references to aid me in being the kind of parent I want to be....and in raising the kind of people I hope to raise. This poem will always hold a place of honor in our household, though. It was the beginning of everything for our family.