The Expectations of Parents

Ted Williams was arguably the greatest hitter to ever play major league baseball. Yet his parents never watched him play a single game.

In her memoir, Educated. Tara Westover tells an incredible tale of being raised by survivalist parents and never went to school or to see a doctor as a child.  She went on to receive her PhD at Cambridge and is now a best selling author.

I share these stories not to diminish the importance  of parents in our lives – research confirms that a protective adult is one of the most important factors in helping us overcome trauma and lesser life challenges as children.

Rather it’s a reminder that we can relax a little when considering if we are doing all we can to ensure our children’s success in life.

From the unneeded pressure of “tiger mom” mentality to this recent article in the NY Times discussing the fear of being judged for not doing enough as a parent, we need to check our expectations of what we must do for our children.

In a recent conversation with author and psychotherapist, Esther Perel, I learned that for most of history the word parent was only used as noun – not a verb. 

It defined a role in our lives not an ongoing expectation of non-stop service. It reminds us that regardless of what we do, we will always “be a parent.” 

Perhaps this can shift our expectations from always doing for our kids to simply being there for them. 

In the end,  our kids will be just fine and just maybe journey will all the more enjoyable.

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