The meaning of existence was to preserve unspoiled, undisturbed and undistorted the image of eternity with which each person is born. Like a silver moon in a calm, still pond.
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Conceiving a child and raising it to feel loved is the most significant action parents can attain. A loved child becomes not only a creative, inspiring being but one who helps all living things to survive and thrive. Think of your child as a young artist who has come to you to learn how to paint or sculpt. As a teacher you would show patience and guide and instruct the child so they can create a work of art. You would not throw out their painting or pottery but show them how to rework it and create a true work of art. Well you have the clay, the paint and the blank canvas to work with; your child.
As a surgeon I listened to eighty five year old parents complain about their kid and I had to laugh remembering they were talking about a kid, who was in his sixties. We can constantly be critical of our children by using phrases like, “There’s something wrong with you.” Or we can let them know they are loved even when we don’t like what they are doing.
I know from working with all age groups that when you ask eighty or ninety year olds whether their parents loved them close to ninety percent answer yes; but when you ask high school students the same question the figures are reversed. When for homework you ask students to write a note about why they should commit suicide and why they are loveable the suicide notes are three to five pages long and the love notes one page. I am not trying to depress all the parents reading this. I have lived the experience with our five children so I know wounds can be healed and that if we are truly educated about the parenting experience our children will be the beneficiaries. Licenses are needed for just about every significant activity or occupation except parenting. So when the birthing classes finish, start parenting classes and learn from those who have preceded you and lived the experience.
Why is it your children’s children are called “grand” and their children become “great grand” children? The answer is that as we grow and mature and learn what is truly important in life we see the children as grand and great. I was born an ugly duckling, who my parents hid in a covered carriage. I survived because I had a grandmother who, to quote my mother, “Poured oil over your body and pushed everything back where it belonged many times a day.” I didn’t have to find my own beauty, as the ugly duckling did, because I had a grandmother. Studies show the benefits of massage in newborns by their rapid weight gain. So touch and massage your children and watch them grow and develop in response to your loving touch. One teenager I know said she was staying at her grandmother’s house and there were no full size mirrors for her to look in before she went off to high school. When she complained to her grandmother, her grandmother said, “Come over here and look into my eyes and you’ll see how beautiful you are.”
There are many ways to touch your child.