HU­MOUR

Lori Borgman finds the funny in ev­ery­day life, writ­ing from the heart­land of the US. Now, if she could just find her car keys…

Friday - - Contents -

Dish­ing out par­ent­ing ad­vice is tricky busi­ness, says colum­nist Lori Borgman, but that doesn’t stop her.

Ial­ways think long and hard when peo­ple ask me for par­ent­ing ad­vice. I tell them it was all I could do to par­ent our own chil­dren; I’m not about to ad­vise them on how to par­ent theirs. The real dan­ger is once you start dis­pens­ing ad­vice, it au­to­mat­i­cally casts you as an ex­pert and noth­ing in­vites disas­ter like billing your­self as an ex­pert.

That said, if I were to have a mo­men­tary lapse of dis­cre­tion and did dis­pense par­ent­ing ad­vice, it would prob­a­bly be what my mother told me.

She once told me the best thing I could do was get my nose out of a book. Ouch. Her words slowly reg­is­tered and I closed the book I was read­ing on how to get your baby to sleep, set­ting it down on top of a book on get­ting your baby to eat solid foods, which was on top of a book on the im­por­tance of play­time with your baby, which was on top of a book on cul­ti­vat­ing your baby’s in­ter­ests in physics, en­gi­neer­ing and com­puter sci­ence.

I didn’t know why my mother would ob­ject to me read­ing books. All of the books were by cre­den­tialed ex­perts.

It was years be­fore I fully un­der­stood what my mother meant.

She meant it was time to stop read­ing and start do­ing. It was time to go with my gut and be­come the ex­pert on know­ing my own chil­dren.

She was right, of course. Moth­ers al­ways are. At least that’s what I tell our kids.

My heart told me that ba­bies and chil­dren need the same things as grown-ups – to be loved, known and en­cour­aged.

My in­stincts told me that kids need bound­aries, cor­rec­tion, for­give­ness and sec­ond chances. A lot of what my heart and in­stincts told me was sim­i­lar to what the ex­perts were telling me, but with­out the cost of a hard­cover book.

I knew my heart was a good guide amid squeals of laugh­ter, sounds of play and over­whelm­ing love for an­other hu­man be­ing.

I knew my heart was trust­wor­thy when it told me to lis­ten to their dreams and hopes, ques­tions and fears, and to shoul­der their dis­ap­point­ments and hurts and en­cour­age them to try again.

My mother’s heart told me that my chil­dren would learn many mar­vel­lous things from books, but how to live life, how to treat oth­ers and how to find their way and make sense of this world, were things they were most likely to

I were to have a mo­men­tary LAPSE of dis­cre­tion and did dis­pense par­ent­ing AD­VICE, it would prob­a­bly be what my mother told me. She once told me the best thing I could do was get my nose out of a book.

learn from watch­ing their fa­ther and me. Warts and all.

Books and ex­perts are won­der­ful re­sources, but no­body will ever know your chil­dren like you do and no­body will ever love them like you do.

Even to­day, when our chil­dren are grown with chil­dren of their own, my mother’s heart re­minds me they are never too old to hear, “I’m proud of you. I love you.”

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