Being a parent is a beautiful blessing and joy, but it can come with some pretty difficult waters to navigate. Parenting advice from others and shelves upon shelves of self-help and parenting books can only do so much. Every child and every parent is different, and you are not going to find a book outlining step by step instructions for correctly parenting your child specifically. You are learning as you go, and that’s perfectly fine. It is fine to ask for help, to admit to yourself when you are overwhelmed or frustrated or don’t know what to do. The main thing to keep in mind is that you are doing your best to guide your child through this trick thing called life, and if you are intentional about constantly showing your son or daughter your unconditional love, the battle is half won, even when it feels like it very much is not.
Love and education: the two most important elements
Raising a child is difficult, especially in this ever-changing world we live in. Keeping up with the sociopolitical scene, being environmentally conscious, working to break down rigid and antiquated concepts imposed by society, and making it to the PTA meeting or neighborhood potluck can be overwhelming enough. Add attempting to guide an impressionable human through it all, and the pressure can seem to be too much. But it is possible, and you can do it. Set your own rules for your family to live by, and let love and education be the key elements of what guides you all through life.
Many people think that education is simply schooling in an institution. However, true education adds up to something else, or at least something more than textbooks and memorized factoids. Real education should begin at a young age, and include the ideas that treating your fellow human being fairly and kindly can get you further than your blind ambition. Real education integrates love into everything.
It takes a village
Once you have nailed down the education that takes place within the home and amongst family and close friends, it will quickly become time to find the right institution for you child to round out his or her education. Quality child care centers often have a heavy emphasis on early childhood education, and some even offer individualized learning plans. Child care centers that are more than just babysitting services are crucial. These early years for your child are the ones during which your child’s brain is developing at the fastest rate that it will in his or her entire life, and it is important not to let that go to waste.
It has been proven that when a child has someone read aloud to him or her, brain development is stimulated. However only about 50% of babies and toddlers are regularly read to by their mothers or fathers. Part of this is due to the changing employment scene and the discrepancies between it and the costs of living. While more than 50% of children had at least one stay at home parent in 1975, less than 33% of kids today have a stay at home parent. Child care centers, particularly those with a focus on early education, are vital aspects of ensuring the development of happy, healthy children in the current climate of working parents. Parents do have to work hard to provide for their children, both financially and emotionally, but child care centers that help with the process are simply an example of communities coming together for the good of all.
Women are still fighting for equal rights, and it wasn’t that long ago that it was considered the norm for women to stay home with the children. Of course, in some circles stuck in the past, this is still a common view. But today just over 70% of mothers have jobs, and 64.8% of working mothers have a child younger than the age of six years old. Parenting doesn’t seem to be getting much easier, but if we can all progress in a deeper, more connected education, we can all come together for the good of the children who will grow into the leaders of tomorrow.