Shifting Perspective As Parent

Food for Thought

It happens every now and then. On social media, I see someone I haven’t seen in a long time and she has a kid I didn’t know about. This happens more frequently when she lives in a different country and speaks a different language. Erika and her 5-year old boy happen to be in my city today, so she pinged me for lunch. He can’t speak English other than “I can speak English,” but I think we got along just fine; he gave me a hug at the end.

You know the cliché: your life will never be the same after you have a child. It usually refers to the lifestyle, what we do or can’t do, but I’m more interested in how it changes people. Your lifestyle could revert back as soon as your kids are independent. Mine is gradually reverting now.

So, what changes forever? You see the whole world as a parent, not just your own children. You realize that certain important things in life do not happen in our society unless ordinary people like us step up. Without this perspective shift, you would always assume that there is a greater authority which is supposed to take care of complicated and difficult things in life.

For instance, you might keep demanding jobs during economic downturns and never realize that, unless someone just like you step up and create jobs, even the government cannot magically create them for you. “The government” that you expect so much from, you realize as a parent, is only a collection of us, the ordinary people.

As a parent, you realize that, ultimately, the buck stops with you. Now you are the one your child and others can point their fingers at. After all, someone has to be at the other end of those fingers. God is not here to take that position, so it would have to be one of us, ordinary humans.

You also realize how nice it was that we used to be able to point our fingers at someone. Even if the problem was not solved, at least it felt good to criticize, complain to, and blame it on someone. We just needed to feel that someone was willing to listen to us. Whether our demands were met or not was secondary. It was nice while it lasted.

Once this shift in perspective takes place in your mind, life will never be the same.