I grew up in the years when Bill Cosby was launching his career into show business. I remember listening to his monologues on the stereo and laughing at all his quips about family and parenting. He had some amazing insights into what it took to be a parent, even though his stories were laced with humor.
“My childhood should have taught me lessons for my own fatherhood, but it didn’t because parenting can only be learned by people who have no children.“
There is some wisdom in that statement. Nearly everyone who has never had the experience of raising children is an expert. They seem to have all the answers. The only lessons to be learned are through experience. No one is born with the knowledge of how to be a good parent. They may think they are, but let’s hear what they have to say after they’ve had a few of their own.
“No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal.“
When you are blessed with more than one child, it becomes part of the job description to step in now and then and let your children know the right way to settle disputes. The books say to talk to them about their behavior at the time it’s happening, but when one has the other in a headlock, the time for reason flies out the window.
“Raising children is an incredibly hard and risky business in which no cumulative wisdom is gained: each generation repeats the mistakes the previous one made.“
No one ever said it was going to be easy to be a parent. Today many young men think it’s cool to go out and father children, but walk away when it’s time to actually do the job. Instead of passing down what we’ve learned from our own parenting experience, I think it’s necessary to be involved in the process. That means changing diapers, cleaning up messes, laughing with your children, encouraging them, teaching them and being with them. We all learn from the mistakes we’ve made and parenting is one of the greatest life lessons to be found.
One final quote from Bill:
“Whenever your kids are out of control you can take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence didn’t extend to His kids.”
God doesn’t make mistakes, but His kids do. We can’t expect to be experts in all the nuances of raising children. Every situation is different, each child unique. All we can do is love them, give them beliefs they can be sure of, and pray that they will turn out OK.