I am a parent of three children. Adults now. It has been a long time since I had young children at home but I suspect that children still can be both delightful and demonic. They can bring joy and chaos. And and that may be one of the gifts of their presence. They tap the deep diversity of the human spirit and thus, enrich our lives.
I read something today that I thought might speak to an important part of parenting. Yesterday I watched the Indianapolis Colts come from 28 points down to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44. Sports writers couldn't say enough about it. People commenting from Indianapolis and Kansas City were initially speechless.
In analyzing the game, some Colts players were talking about how poorly they played the first half, digging themselves a 28 point hole to get out of. One of the players said, "We weren't trusting each other. We had to depend on everyone to do their job."
Just as a good football team needs to trust each other to do his job, family life is more dependable when "everyone does his/her job". I remember as a child that we each had "chores." Many of my memories of family conflicts were around our not doing our chores or not doing them well enough. I am sure one of my parents thought more than once, "It would be easier to do it myself."
And as a child, I didn't like having responsibility. But, now I understand that those jobs or chores were ways in which my parents taught me that I mattered. I mattered to the family system I was important to the social fabric of my family life. I made a contribution to the lives of others. Things go better when each of us does his/her job.
This is not a bad thing to know. We matter. It matters to the family team that each does his/her job. We know we matter when what we do contributes to the well-being of the whole. For a child to know this is a wonderful gift.