PARENTING – What a Joy!
One of my sons is a QFES Firefighter. So, you can well imagine what this past 1-2 weeks have looked like for him. Why on Earth am I telling you this? That’s a good question. It’s a matter of sharing a short story which illustrates how just as many things stay the same, some things swing 180 degrees.
As parents, it is our joy and challenge to love our kids and care for them, through the best and worst of times. It is this daily tension, almost regardless of their age, between giving them a hand-up (not a hand-out) and allowing them to stumble and even fall at times. It has perhaps been correctly suggested over the years that I am a little bit ‘old-school’ with parenting, though my sons, now in their twenties, are starting to value that as children and teens that I would invariably remind them that they were loved, though there were times when I didn’t particularly like them (moreover a small number of specific behaviours). If only they could have applied such adult logic in their younger years. All that said, I believe my kids always knew that they were loved and that I “had their back”. Their mother often fretted over things that I more routinely had a higher “pain threshold” with. As a great Mum, she just always wanted to know that they were ok! She would lose sleep (and still does and I suspect always will) when a real challenge befalls them.
Back to the present …. Sunday evening – 8.38pm. My son rings me and with deep fatigue evident states “Hi Dad, just wanted to give you a quick ring and let you know that I’ve just come off an 18-hour firefight. I just needed to tell you in case Mum sees or hears it on news reports and panics …. You know how she gets! I’m off to bed. Thanks.” What a good boy! And here was I assuming that I would be well into my senior years until I thought that it was the turn of my children to look after their parents. It’s already happening.
The joy of parenting is the moment that you realise the love, values and discipline that you have instilled (sometimes painstakingly) over their growing years has made a difference and has had an immeasurable impact on the others-centred people they have become.
Hug your kids tonight, and if appropriate and you get the opportunity, hug someone who works in emergency services.