Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Parenting Boat

Parenting is like being in a small boat amidst a powerful storm.  You have to be a strong seaman to navigate the parenting waters.  The waters are always choppy, seldom calm and shark-infested.  At times, the life vest is deflated or missing from your proverbial boat. The winds whip and the rain falls in one breath and in another it is a beautiful, sunny day.  It takes all of your effort to keep the boat afloat and all the members in your small boat alive.  As the captain or co-captain, you realize that with each passing storm another storm will soon be on the horizon.  Such a tough job.... the constant change, the constant struggle, the days of calm seas followed by the hurricane-force winds. 

It is a relentless pursuit of ensuring the well being of the members of your boat, who often question your every move.  Should we be doing that? Wouldn't it be better if we did this? Why are we doing this? Or present their facts and ideas on the best course of action for your small vessel, acting as if your years of being a captain and seaman are irrelevant.  I think we should do this because....., or the current facts are.......  or my personal favorite.... when I am in charge we will do it this way (Don't you really want to say...go ahead get your own boat and see how you do?).

The people in your boat have emotions that rival the storms your boat encounters.  One minute they are as calm as the sea, the next their emotions rival the storm around you.  (Maybe they are the cause of the storms?? ) Just when you believe that your boat has passed the worst of the storm, the clouds grow and a new storm approaches... just like the emotions of the people in your boat. You, as captain, can never quite get a handle on the storms as they change with the wind, come from all directions and threaten to sink your boat at any time. 

Being captain is a tough job. You do not receive any formal training for navigating these waters, you learn as you go.  Some days, you are a great captain. Others, your boat barely stays afloat.  The rewards, like sunshine after a storm, are breathtaking and leave you with a sense of awe and wonder at the majesty of the sea.  Likewise, when the storm is bad,  you bail water out of your boat as quickly as you can with your eyes on the storm and you hope that it is a small squall and not a hurricane.

Eventually, your boat will be smaller with less responsibility.  We all know that.  We know the storms will pass, the waters will calm and the sharks will move on to greater pursuits.  But while navigating the waters with a full boat, it is hard to see past the storm, to look for the sun amidst the clouds. So, my fellow captains... hold tight to your life vest, keep rowing towards the sun, there are brighter days ahead.

1 comment:

  1. I adore the metaphor you've created here. Being the captain of a ship feels so challenging in times like this with young children. But, yes, being at the helm gets easier as the years pass.


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