I find it somewhat perplexing that babies don’t come with instruction manuals. I mean, a little digital clock that I got with my subscription to Fast Company even came with a little sheet of directions, printed in many different languages (but not in Pig Latin, unfortunately.) And yet, even though raising a child is probably the most important undertaking a human being could ever be charged with, a microwavable burrito comes with more instructions than a baby.
Indeed, a quote from Harold B. Lee states, “The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the wall of our own homes.” (Your hour-long appearance on Trading Spaces not withstanding.)
I know that there are a gajillion books on the market – my friend Jaimie has read almost all of them, and half of them tell you to do one thing while the other half recommends the complete opposite action – but there needs to be a clear-cut standard issue that comes with every new kid. And even though the Bible has a lot of good parenting advice, I think God could have done us all a favor by replacing Leviticus with some sort of gospel of Parenting.
Now mind you, I know everything about parenting. All non-parents do.
Maybe someday I will write this much-needed book of wisdom, but for now, I shall share a top 10 list my father-in-law first shared with me. In a survey to one hundred 8th graders, the students were asked the question, “What do you think the qualities of an ideal parent would be?” Surprisingly, unlimited allowance did not make the list:
1. Spend more time with me.
3. Allow my privacy.
4. Remember I’m growing up.
5. Trust–let me earn it.
6. Give me more responsibilities – then notice when I’m responsible.
7. Be more patient.
8. Don’t go ballistic when I do something stupid.
9. Be more forgiving.
10. Love me.
I think that’s a pretty good list to start with. It will at least buy all of you parents out there time while I put together my Idiot’s Guide to Parenting.
I just need to make sure I get it all down on paper before I actually have kids and it becomes immediately outdated…