Here’s something many people just don’t understand; the most valuable thing that you will ever do is parent your children.
Because it’s not just your children who are affected, or your own family life. It’s about something much bigger than that. And in order to understand that you have to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Think about ripples. When you chuck a stone in water the stone doesn’t only affect the place where it hits the surface, its impact sends ripples out through the whole pool. Right to the edges even, right to places it was nowhere near and never touched.
Your parenting is like that. Because your children are affected by your parenting more than they are affected by anything else in their lives. And that parenting, and the way your children are, will be sending ripples out through society just like the pool.
Your children affect the children they meet, the children at school, the communities they join, the work they do as they grow, the families of their own that they may one day create. And it will not only be their own little communities they affect, for as those communities interact they affect others beyond their own ripples in their own pool and affect societies to come. And your children do not only affect this planet as it is now, their actions affect the future of the planet too.
These small babies of yours, these toddlers, tweenagers and teens, and the way in which you are bringing them up actually affects everybody. That’s how the bigger picture looks. And that’s why the most valuable thing that you ever do is to parent your children.
That’s why parenting is so, SO important.
It’s also why it is so important that we value it. That we value it enough to give it our time, thought and attention, we value it enough to prioritise our parenting duties over and above other things for a while, value it enough to make sure we do it well.
Of course, the next big question is; how do we do it well?
To do anything well, whatever it is, requires; focus, energy, being engaged, commitment, putting ourselves out, thought.
It also involves; research, consideration, decision making, sacrifice of other things we were formerly engaged in, changes.
Changes to; ourselves, the way we behave, the way we think, our way of living.
The biggest requirement is respect:
Respecting our parenting enough to devote energy and commitment to it, be responsible about it.
Respecting ourselves enough to do this new job to the best of our abilities, smarten up our act a bit, think through our morals, practices, behaviours, habits and language.
Respecting our children enough to value time spent with them, listening to them, being involved with their doings, guiding, educating them (and that happens as much through our interaction with them as anything else), cherishing them and nurturing them. Caring.
Now this may all sound too much of a demand on our time and energy and too much for us to aspire to or achieve. But it isn’t. For it is so, so simple.
It is simply achievable by just being a good, caring person. A good caring person who is there.
Being a good caring person you will pass that goodness and care onto your child. They will understand what goodness and care is all about. Then they will in turn send ripples of goodness and care out into the world, helping make it a good place to be. And that’s simply because of your parenting.
That’s the effect your parenting has. It has an effect far beyond you and your children. It has an effect throughout the world. That’s why it’s so important.
It is the most valuable thing that you could ever do.
And here’s a letter just for mums;
I so want to write you a letter.
This is because, having been through it, I know that when you become a mum there is so much to think about, do and cope with, some of the most important things get neglected. I know – I’ve done it!
So I thought maybe some of my hindsight might give you a helping hand. The sorts of things that I’m talking about are not to do with that gorgeous child – instead I want to talk about you!
For a start; are you looking after yourself, or are you devoting all your time and energy to looking after your child? When you first have a baby this is how it is for a while. But you need to get back to considering your needs as well as those of your child’s. Looking after your needs is important both for you and for your child; it makes you a mum better able to cope which makes you a happier parent and that’s got to be good for you both!
The next thing to fully appreciate is your worth. You have enormous worth as a mum. Just imagine who you’re raising; you could be raising the next Prime Minister or the next David Beckham or Angelina Jolie who as well as being a celebrity is more importantly an ambassador for charity. Whoever, the point is that what you do as a mum is creating another member of the human race who will be contributing something – doesn’t matter how great or small – they will be contributing. And to make their contribution a good one depends on the time and attention you put in as a parent. That is your worth and the worth of the work you do as a mum, (there’s a whole chapter devoted to this in my book I’m so passionate about it).
This means that every little moment you spend with your child, however quiet or invisible, will eventually affect everybody. Because your child is never isolate. They come into contact with thousands of others over a lifetime and via that contact can spread love and goodness all around. You’re contributing to society this way. How amazing is that? That’s what you do!
So, to do this job really well, it is essential that you are really well. That you are rested, relaxed, nurtured so you have the energy, drive and inspiration you need to raise your child well.
And before you worry, you don’t need a degree or a diploma or anything expensive or complicated to raise your child well. You just need to be a conscientious, caring and respectful human being and you’re probably that already or you wouldn’t be reading this. Everyone is different. Everyone parents differently. But this is okay because each child is different too, so listen to your intuition and be the mum you want to be. And respect yourself for what you do.
You have the right to be as respected as anyone else doing any form of work, paid or otherwise. For yours is also vital work. Respect yourself for doing it thereby heightening respect for all mums – you all work so hard. You are an amazing, champion workforce whose staying power in the face of challenge is unparalleled and whose work is of the utmost importance.
These are some of the important things I wanted to tell you. They are also the themes expanded in my book MUMHOOD along with lots of tips and support – and a little bit to help with the children too. So if you ever have the time, do take a look.
There’s also a lot more about motherhood and parenting throughout my blog posts. If you type ‘mumhood’ or ‘parenting’ in the search box you’ll find some.
But just for now, look after yourself. Focus on enjoying your mumhood and enjoying your child. These are treasured moments to be indulged in while you can.
Love and best wishes!
Hello, I have only just found your blog. The foundation for home teaching lays deep in my past. I am working on a number of areas, which will come together later this year. That will be the start of a life long project. I like every word I have read, I look forward to gathering more insight from your blog. Take care, Stewart
Lovely you visited Stewart, I’m so glad to have inspired. Good luck with your project!
I’m just loving reading your blog and your book. It is helping me so much to appreciate who I am, the values and beliefs I have held on to. As a Mom to children with Aspergers (who both went to mainstream school) I have felt so isolated over the last 15 years. I have felt ignored in their “education” because they are both rule followers and academically bright. Concerns I have had for their well being have been swept under the carpet.
*AJ is at uni now and loving that he can just focus on advanced maths. It’s like a dream come true for him. *CAL didn’t transition well from her primary to secondary and even with all the “support” school each day was making her quite ill. We are very new to home-ed, I’m still trying to find what suits my *CAL in her new journey. But one thing I know, it has to be fun and bring her healing from the last 8 years. She loved to learn as a little girl and now she is loving it again.
This post has really helped me to process some thoughts.
Thank you. Love and hugs. Lisa. xx 🙂
That’s really lovely to know – thank you!
It’s so uplifting to hear how this has helped so thank you too, for telling me your story. x
I think the most valuable thing we can do is to find out who we really are and what our true nature or being actually is about.
a lot of our thinking or behaviour is not ours, its just bits and pieces from society and what other have told us, but does it really work?
I think we need to practice simple tools like forgiveness , compassion and love.
and change And let go of things as they come up from moment to moment,
through doing this , it will be very similar to what Ross mentioned about ripples in the world., but they all start with us.
Thanks Dean, such a lovely comment. I appreciate you taking time to post it. x
What is the most valuable thing for people like me to do, people without children?
Hope you didn’t think that I was implying that people who have no children have no value? It wasn’t my intention. Everyone has a contribution to make, everyone has their own values to live by, and everyone can affect the world around them (including children who are not even theirs) and make it a better place! Thank you for leaving your valuable comment.
I have just read your artical and I couldn’t read it for the tears in my eyes. As you say at the beginning “many people just don’t understand”. Well I understand completly, It’s my husband who doesn’t. I could ask him to read this artical and he still wouldn’t get it. Everything has to be black or white to him there’s no inbetween and no compromise with my twin boys who are 13 years old. Dont get me wrong he loves them to bits, he just doesn’t know how to show it, but then that’s because his father never showed it to him and his brother. I have tried to tell him that he will end up pushing them away, and if they left home prematurely because of him, I would never forgive him. One of my sons has general learning difficulties but my husband has no patience with him and believes he is just being lazy and doesn’t try. When I said that the school always says that he tries my husband said they are just saying that to be kind!! See what I have to put up with.
I just found this wonderful article and read your post.
I have very similar situation and we are actually under more constraints and control because of profit and power based social system.
My boys passports were taken away so we cannot travel and my husband also threaten children by calling police to force access – well, police had a normal sense luckily and just let children stay with me and did not put me jail either. We are separated as you can understand.
I started home education and took educators course to make sure I understand the meaning of real education after my child was bullied, found out no classmates and parents care about it, teacher were only aiming to control children and principal threaten me to stop investigating the case and expel my child if I don’t.
The article show exactly what I am aiming for my children and direction of society I love to live.
My children are happy with my guidance but my husband get jealous of our pure and solid relationship and intentionally keep making things difficult for us. So he keeps taking things to the court… and power minded solicitors and court keep allowing him to control our life since he is working for well known energy company.
The court even made order to children go back to school and reason was “Home education is NOT a “NORM””. They never cared about my ability and direction, children’s voice and their real skill/ developments and great community I developed around children.
Still, I am pursuing my believes and now children is strongly supporting my view and advocating their right to chose their life. I just hope no one suffer the level we have now and let children live as an individual and respected human beings.
Thank you for your moving story. I’m wishing that your journey becomes easier.
Perhaps it’s a little late to comment on your post, but I feel that what you have written is a beautiful thing. I believe schooling also affects the ripples on the pond…
In 1996 I took it for granted that in a few months I would be a father, but the premature birth of our first born changed all that. It brought home to me the responsibility of being a dad. I promised myself, subconsciously, if our daughter were to survive neonatal care, I would do my best to protect her. She’s 13 now, and doing very well indeed, but to say parenting has not been easy would be an understatement!
Protection has included putting my head on the block more times than I care to remember, for example, our local primary school failed to identify her delayed development/disability up until Y5, but even after doing so they messed up her transfer to secondary school (a very long story). It took nearly 3 years of haggling through the merry-go-round of SEN legislation to get a letter of apology, which fell way short of disability discrimination.
However, unbeknown to myself, my daughter had empowered me to stand up for the rights of other children born early. It hasn’t only been 3 years of haggling; I have also met some wonderful likeminded people and professionals who have noted the prevalence of disability in children born early, who are also passionate about early school intervention.
So the ripples on the pond not only perpetuate throughout society, they also move between parent and child. I cannot understate how much our daughter has inspired me through her sheer determination to succeed despite the inflexibility of the education system. We now stand side-by-side in the fight for children’s rights. And although parenting has been quite stressful, it has been an honour and a privilege to watch both our daughters develop into delightful young ladies. I would do it all again given half a chance.
Thank you so much for these comments – it is wonderful to know that people are inspired by what’s written here. Ross x
heartfelt thanks for sharing such wisdom, I am really touched by what I have read tonight, we’ve just ordered your book and eagerly await its arrival, potentially one of our best gifts this christmas, love Jo
ps not sure where you are based Ross and how far a field you travel, if you are ever down in the west country could we invite you to our local HE group,
we are in Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor-do you ever do any group visits/faciltate discussions? we only found out about HE when we moved here 2 years ago and our local HE community is still relatively small compared to Totnes/Exeter.
I have to agree with you. Sometimes we don’t always realise the effect our parenting has on others. I saw evidence of it the other day when my eleven year old son was communicating with another boy he has got to know through Youtube. He found out that his cyberfriend is bullied every day at school. My son was so upset for his friend. The good part of it is however, is that he is so determined to give his friend as much support as he can. I was close to tears at the wisdom of my young man. It is only through reading this blog Ross that it occurred to me that some of what I try to be has obviously rubbed off on Will. Thank you for writing this piece because although I was touched and proud of my son’s actions, I was not giving myself any pats on the back. Now I am.