Friday, April 22, 2022

"I Would Die For My Child"

"I would die for my child." 

Even if we've not said it, we've thought something along those lines: what would we do, how far would we go to protect our precious children? If it meant saving theirs, we would, we believe, be courageous enough to die for them.

For most of us, it will never come to that, even as we know it does for some parents. I'm thinking, of course, of parents in war-torn or famine ravaged places, but the heartfelt sentiment is there nevertheless.

Of course, our children do not ask this of us. No, they can't even consider it. They want us, they need us, to live for them.

Having known tens of thousands of parents in my life, I've encountered very few who have not at some level sacrificed something in what they considered to be the best interests of their child. Perhaps it has meant suspending a promising career or continuing to work at a job one despises. Some have sacrificed their health, or their looks, or their friends. We sacrifice our weekends and holidays. We sacrifice autonomy.

Naturally, every parent knows that the bright side can be bright indeed, but that doesn't mean there isn't sacrifice. Does it mean, therefore, that they need us to live for them?

The Italian writer and philosopher Natalia Ginzburg, in her essay The Little Virtues, a work I consider to be among the most important parenting texts ever written, asserts that among our primary responsibilities as parents is to help our children find what she calls their "vocation," which she essentially defines as purpose. We do this, by finding a vocation for ourselves. "This," she writes, "is perhaps the one real chance we have of giving them some kind of help in their search for a vocation -- to have a vocation ourselves, to know it, to love it and serve it passionately; because love of life begets a love of life."

In other words, our children do not need us to live or die for them: they just need us to live.

Yes, that's easier said than done, but that must be, when all is said and done, why we are here, to find our vocation, our purpose, to know it, to love it and serve it passionately so that our children will grow up knowing that this is how to love life.


If you liked reading this post, you might also enjoy one of my books. To find out more, Click here! 
"Ready for a book that makes you want to underline and highlight? One that makes you draw arrows and write 'THIS!!!!!' in the margin? Then you are in for a treat." ~Lisa Murphy, M.Ed., author and Early Childhood Specialist, Ooey Gooey, Inc.

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