If someone were to ask me what it takes to be a parent, I would use a metaphor. I have found that parenting has an awful lot in common with gardening. Gardeners tend to their plants; parents tend to their children – in many of the same ways.
A good gardener will spend a lot of time with their plants. By spending a lot of time with their plants, gardeners can keep weeds, pests and other obstacles that can impact a plant’s ability to flourish under control, and often avoid a big problem by taking care of a little one. Gardeners know what is good for a plant and what isn’t. A healthy plant grows from healthy soil, and a gardener’s priority is making sure that foundation is nourishing.
I think that if a person can understand some basics about gardening, then he can understand some basics about parenting. Spend time with your child, consider what he needs for nourishment, be vigilant about weeds, and notice what might be impacting his ability to flourish. Just like a good gardener, a good parent is aware of and pays attention to their child in small, consistent ways. He is not waiting until weeds encroach or an infestation has spread. He checks and corrects the situation, maybe more than once, if he has to. And just like a good gardener, a good parent may be less likely to give up when a bit more effort is required.
Both parenting and gardening require commitment- often a lot bigger one than one might have thought. Both ask for a willingness to spend time in the dirt and on your knees to protect and nurture the growth of little sprouts.
What is your metaphor for parenting?