Nurturing Lessons

My niece is getting a bicycle for Mother’s Day. Her mom, my sister, has been celebrating Mother’s Day, by buying my niece a present, ever since my niece was a very young child, who came home in tears because she’d just discovered Mother’s Day meant buying a present for your mom and she didn’t have any money. My sister hugged her while she told her that without her she wouldn’t be a mother so she would be getting a present for her instead, a tradition that is well established and continues to this very day.

My sister is an extraordinarily good mother. She has made enormous sacrifices for her daughters. She did not whine about what she gave up in providing a stable, loving, home for them. She took care of her ex-husband so her little girls would know their father. She worked her way out of soul smothering poverty into a position where she now earns what would support my family a couple of times over every year.

As you know, I chose not to have children. I did not want the responsibility of caring for other human beings for the rest of my life. As the eldest of six, I know the worry and obligation that accompany parenting. Ironically, I have found myself in the position of caring for other people’s children all of my life. I’ve observed the frustration parents feel, at being trapped by their biological decisions, when they’d prefer to be otherwise engaged. Parents do not dream of staying up all night with a colicky baby and staggering into work in the morning just as bleary eyed as if they’d been out on a drunken bender all night. No one looks forward to the day when they’ll have to figure out how to manage the defiance of a rebellious teenager. Who relishes the fun of saving for college tuition?

I’ve observed parents, from many generations, who do it right, not so right, and flagrantly, selfishly, wrong. Parenting is a competency that should be taught as part of high school curriculum- all four years. Young people have to understand what to expect from a lifelong relationship that is permanent. Kids need to realize that it is every parent’s duty to prepare their children to be self-sufficient, decent, human beings. A mother is a the first mentor a child encounters, the guide through the early years of human existence and a resource for information throughout life. It is a stunning responsibility.

Creating life is nothing more than a physical exercise, nearly anyone can do it. Nurturing that life; loving, teaching, imposing boundaries, and setting an example are learned skills that require determination and, most importantly, selflessness. A lot of kids don’t learn that at home.

About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
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20 Responses to Nurturing Lessons

  1. Wonderful post – I agree much more needs to be taught, not everyone learns by role model..

    I love your sister’s attitude too 🙂 We don’t ‘do’ mother’s day in this house..

  2. Pingback: mother and son (no, not the ruth cracknell, gary mcdonald version!) | bodhisattvaintraining

  3. Very well put. It’s funny how traditions rise in familys and don’t make sense anywhere else. It shows how much sense family make in life, if you get what I mean. Nice blog.

    • elroyjones says:

      Thanks very much. Your perspective on teenagers is refreshing and one that is oddly familiar. We are just beginning to enjoy some small gratification in our exhausting efforts to help the descendants grow up and see life as something other than MTV’s UNReal World. It’s been a long, death defying, haul. They’re 22 and 26; thus far my husband and I have repressed our homicidal tendencies.

  4. benzeknees says:

    I agree with you about parent coaching. We have to show we know how to drive a car in order to get a driver’s license, why not a license to parent? A little harder to enforce though!

    • elroyjones says:

      Society would be stronger if we began teaching kids while they’re still in school some of the skills they’ll need in daily life. Whether or not a person goes on to procreate, most of us will encounter and have an impact on children in our adult lives.

  5. maesprose says:

    You are singing to the choir on this one!

    • elroyjones says:

      I never thought I’d live to see the day but I am pleased by the maturity my husband’s oldest son has gained. He has rediscovered respect and appreciation for his dad and he’s humbled by the time and work we have put into providing a stable foundation for him and his brother. Will wonders never cease?

  6. I have noticed that some of the people who would make the best parents don’t have kids and people who suck at it pump kids out like a fire hose…

  7. Peggy says:

    What a nice tribute.

  8. alison says:

    Great post, I loved it.
    Your sister sounds like an amazing person and mother.

    • elroyjones says:

      She did a superlative job with her kids. My niece is in her mid-twenties and is an RN. She had a little sister who died from complications of a degenerative disease. My youngest niece did not walk, talk, or feed herself. She had no useful control over her body and in the last couple of years of her life she had to be intubated because she could not swallow her food. That child was well cared for and truly loved. She was clean and dressed, in pretty matching outfits, every day of her life she was hugged and loved and rocked and played with. When she laughed it was in unrestrained joy. My sister was in school and on welfare through much of it, taking care of her little girls in a way that made them feel rich. Yes, my sister is amazing. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  9. seetajan says:

    Good post Share, I loved This ,elroyjones

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