There’s a certain beauty in the mist and the fog. Have you noticed? Do you see how the fog moves and changes? How it lifts and settles? How it slides silently, mysteriously on its way, pauses for a moment and then continues its journey?
There’s an intriguing quality through the fog—an invitation to wonder.
At the same time, there’s a certain air of standoffishness. A “don’t bother me” attitude. A sense of loneliness. A sense of mystery or even foreboding. Yet, it draws me in. It intrigues me with its beauty, loneliness, mystery.
by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
I began to love this poem after visiting relatives in San Francisco. As we watched the fog roll in off the bay and creep along the streets, it made total sense. It truly did move with a feline quality! How amazingly beautiful and mysterious.
There are times in life when we feel like we are trapped in the middle of the fog.
Our sight lines are minimal; our understanding of the situation is minuscule. We feel disquieted in our soul. There’s “something” out there beyond the edge of the fog. We can’t quite get a grip on it; can’t quite see what’s ahead of us. Which way do we turn?
Parenting is often like this. Every child is intriguing and mysterious.
Not one is just like another. They are sweet precious gifts that blow our minds with their complexity. Their unique blend of personality, talents, abilities, and thought processes creates quite a challenge. How do you teach them? What does it take to rear them to be responsible, productive adults? How do you find your way through this mysterious fog?
The best parents we observed took time to be students of their child by
- Spending quantity, not just quality, time with their child
- Being involved in their child’s world—not to hover, but to know what delighted their child
- Allowing their children to take some risks and get hurt in the risk, to learn valuable life lessons while Dad and Mom were still there to provide the safety net
- Setting aside their own fears to let their child grow according to their bent
- Delaying their wants to nurture and rear their child
- Being less concerned with giving their child everything they might want but made sure they had everything they needed
- Making mistakes along the way and willingly acknowledging those mistakes—to themselves, their spouse, their children
- Guiding, directing, and disciplining their child in order to give them the best possible chance to live a productive life
- Remembering they were the parent, not the peer
And the fog began to lift. The sunshine was glorious.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
If I, as a Mom, will take the time to study my child and rear them according to their bent, the life lessons will stick with him as an adult. My child may wander but the training will be there. My child will know what is right. And, perhaps, one day I’ll get to watch them parent their own children. And I’ll cheer them on in this extraordinary privilege called parenting.
Are you going to make mistakes? Oh yeah. Is there a magic formula you can follow? Nope. Are you going to get stuck in the fog at times? Most definitely. Will the sun come back out? Yes. Can you really be a student of your child? A heartfelt, resounding Yes!!
Parenting is the most difficult, rewarding, challenging, extraordinary work you will ever do and it brings the greatest rewards.
Don’t settle for mediocre. Determine to selflessly know your child. You can do this!
Are you caught in the fog or has the sunshine come back out? Please let me hear your story. Let’s encourage each other along the journey.
Kirsten D. Samuel
Aftershock Recovery Coach
8-week Program, Custom-paced Coaching, Remote, or In-person Sessions