Pinball Parenting

by Marilynn Halas on April 21st, 2015
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PinballRaising kids reminds me of playing pinball only this time you are not the human being playing the game but rather the ball getting shot out of the chamber and bouncing around between flashing lights and whirring buzzers. Pulled this way and that by competing needs, crazy schedules and the desperate desire for a hot bath.

The questions are constant and run the gamut from “Mom why are the ping pong balls next to the beer in the supermarket?” “Because we live in a college town dear.” To more esoteric concerns about Euclidean Geometry and why π matters. Pie matters because we all deserve a slice after answering all the questions put to us in an average day.

Still as wild as the ride often gets, it’s still the best gig I’ve ever had. (As a lawyer my clients had far more annoying questions like “What do you mean we have to disclose everything?”) There is nothing like sleepy kisses in the morning and bedtime hugs from a teen who will be off at college in the fall.

Parenting isn’t easy but it can be remarkably simple.
Be there.
Be kind.
Be generous, with your time, patience and understanding.
Forgive every time; yourself and your kids.
Give more when you feel like giving in.
Love, every time, no matter what, love and then love more.

Maybe all the basics really can be rolled into the last one. What we say to our kids becomes their inner voice. Imagine an inner voice full of love and compassion; imagine an inner voice that forgives instead of judges. If that sounds too much to hope for try this. Imagine that even if you cannot change the voice in your head, you could get it to sit down and be quiet.

That’s the goal as parents or at least that’s the goal for me. Of course I want them to get great educations, eat their vegetables and marvel at how blessed they are to have me as their mom but more than that I want them to be gentle with themselves and with others. To know real joy and to choose life over fear. To never doubt that they are loved, without condition and no matter. If I can give them that then all this bouncing around and flashing lights will be well worth the noise.

Categories: General