The Wisdom of Mary P. (Part One): All I want is my kid to be happy

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies

I don't usually cover two posts from the same blog in one week, let alone one day. However, Mary P., who writes Day Care Daze, has written two essays recently that have just blown me away. And basically, I really really wish that I had known her and read her when my kids were very very young, because this kind of child-reading wisdom would have just been invaluable to me. So, as the title says, this is the first.

So, in the hopes that you will benefit from these as much as I did, I am linking to them here, and just summarizing them enough to give you a little taste.

Mary P. is a day care provider, and has been for the past twelve years. She cares for tots from babies to age four, and at any given time has a small clientele of varying ages. She has a lot of experience with both children... and their well-intentioned parents. She will often ask parents what they want for their children. And these parents will answer with something that I find to be an answer that I would give as well: I want my kid(s) to be happy. (I wonder what those folks in New Zealand will think of Mary P.'s take on this!)

Mary P. addresses this lofty goal in the first essay here. She writes, "If your goal for your child is his/her happiness, then every time s/he cries, you will feel failure. If your goal is to mold a strong and giving human being, then when they cry you will feel compassion, of course (or exasperation, as the case may be!), but you will know that maturity, like anything worth having, doesn't come easily."

I felt like I had been hit by a lightning bolt when I read that nugget of wisdom. I am going to print it out and frame it somewhere I can see it. I am going to take it with me to every baby shower I ever go to again. I am going to sing it from the roof tops. Mary P. elaborates on this wisdom in her essay, by pointing out that happiness is (or should be) a by-product of other goals. And, most importantly, reminds us that happiness is fleeting. And that there are other, more worthwhile goals, to have as parents.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.