How to be a good parent.
It seems odd that I would choose to write this blog, given my situation, but as odd as it may be, I think there is some relevance.
On Wednesday, I was flying from Chicago to Denver and there was an African-American woman with two children under 2-years of age who were crying. As I watched the situaiton, I heard snickers around this lady getting louder and louder with people complaining “just my luck to sit next to screaming kids” and “I have a headache already”.
I turned around immediately and gave the mother a reassuring smile. It’s not her fault – they are kids. In fairness to her, they didn’t appear to be naughty children – they were just tired, hungry or scared.
Hearing the people around her complain as she tried in vain to settle her children became overwhelming. People became ruder and ruder.
I turned around and she had tears streaming down her face.
As she wiped away tears, one child settled and began to try and read a book. Out loud, the child said “apple”, “dog”, and so on.
Another rude comment from behind came from a mother of two teenage children, “now we have this!”
As the baby continued to cry, the child that looked about two needed to go to the restroom. She was in an impossible position. The plane was ready to take off and here she had one child screaming and the other needing to go to the restroom. Fortunately, a kind airhostess on the American Airlines flight offered to assist in escorting the child to the restroom.
You should have seen the relief on the mother’s face.
Is she a good mother?I sense she is. She affectionately held her children, didn’t once get cross with them or others that were so rude around her. Her 100 per cent attention for the entire flight was on her children. Not for a second did she do a single thing for herself. Not even sip a glass of water.
Eventually the children settled as the plane flew off. I am sure she was relieved.
The things I remember most about my mother;
- She always gave me cuddles and held my hand: It’s these little things that you remember most and to this day, I still love cuddles (from anyone).
- She taught me good manners and how to behave in public: I never remember misbehaving or getting into trouble for doing something wrong in public.
- She was shy, and I was shy: My mother understood that because I was shy, that I wasn’t going to be like everyone else. While she encouraged me to go out and play, she knew that mostly I just wanted to stay by her side. In fact, I was so shy that I cried so much in kindergarden that I stopped going and my first schooling was Grade 1. Even at 10 years old, I would cry leaving my mother at the bus stop.
- She never judged another person by the way they look or where they come from: At school, in my earlier years, we were not exposed to people from different nationalities. In fact, I would have to say, at my first school, there was a lot of racism towards anyone that wasn’t white. My mother would not accept that. As a devote Catholic, she would invite children from poorer upbringings to stay at our house, or would billet Aboriginal kids from Thursday Island when they needed somewhere to stay for athletics tournament. Over time, I too began to accept that being of different heritage is an advantage, not a disadvantage.
- She inspired me to be the best I can be: It was the little things like encouraging me to have a go, when I wanted to back away because I didn’t think I could do something. She showed me how proud she was when I came home with a straight A report card from school and rewarded me with special gifts every time I achieved anything of significance.
Which leads me to my journey in the US. A month or so ago, I went to Charlotte to film these kids. They are children that are just trying to be the #besttheycanbe.
There was little hesitation in having them participate and tell other kids how they can be the best they can be.
Even as parents, we slip up. I see myself as the parent and guardian of my dog and as much as I want to be perfect, I am far from it. Sometimes, I run out of time to take her for that much needed walk, or I am too busy working to give her attention.
It’s about being the #bestyoucanbe (click this to see what I am talking about!) and learning from your experiences and rewarding yourself and your children whether its through hugs or just a little reassurance.