My second son recently turned 28. His father and I took him for a long sailing trip, just the three of us. It was a very happy time for the three of us, being confined in a small yacht, the ocean and nature all around us, no one and nothing else, only the three of us. We reminisced over our many happy memories. It felt wonderful.
Late one evening during the trip as we were trying to go ashore for dinner, my kayak capsized in the rough sea. I was momentarily winded as the kayak slammed me against the hull of the yacht. I struggled to get back on the yacht as I had bruised my ribs and each breath was difficult, especially with seawater filling my eyes, nose and mouth. And then a strong arm hoisted me out of the water long enough for me to catch my breath.
“I’ve got you, Mum,” he said. I notice this boy had always kept me in the periphery of his vision, ready to spring into action whenever I am out of my depth.
I have received many compliments about my children. They are physically beautiful, because they all have won the genetic lottery, a melting point of English, Scottish, Asian, Spanish and Italian genes. I didn’t have to do much beyond feeding them nutritious food and ensuring that they had enough exercise when they were growing up.
They are also well-accomplished and have done well academically and in their careers, but again, they were fortunate in that we were able to afford to educate them and give them the opportunities. They went to good schools which propelled them forward, taught them what is required in the world of work and presented the opportunities that my children took, such as competing in sports internationally and meeting people who have achieved great things. Again, there wasn’t much we needed to do as parents.
The difficult part when it comes to making an adult is thus not producing good-looking, successful professionals bearing all the physical hallmarks of success, but the making of young men and women who are genuinely happy deep inside with life and one who remain close and loving to the family unit.
To achieve this is not down to genetic lottery or being born in the right social strata, but rather, the intention that their parents bring into their parenting journey. In the past few years, I thought a lot about how we parent our children can so profoundly affect who they become. Genetic lottery and social strata seemed immaterial – rather, it is the family home that maketh the man/woman and the love that he/she had been brought up with.
Parent with full awareness of the consequence of your words and actions,
teach patience and integrity,
speak with kindness always,
and most of all,
BELIEVE that it is the most important job you’ll ever do.