I started my morning while it was still very dark outside. In the peace of my office, as I waded through blog links and tweets and e-mails and FB posts I grew discouraged. Very discouraged. And perhaps it is that emotion that has led me to conclude: I am a crappy expert.
More than 30 years as a parent, over 25 as an advocate for families, participation in multiple program start-ups and outcome reports and … I just don’t have it.
How did I arrive at this conclusion?
Despite my pedigree I cannot — or will not — presume to tell you the one, single best way to be a parent. I have written about a way of looking at family life that I think can help almost any parent feel supported. Especially when they’re ‘setting’. (Setting? A powerful example. Appropriate limits. The dinner table…)
I do not know, nor have I ever claimed to know, “The Key” to being a better Mom or Dad. I think that providing a framework or point of view from which parents can choose what works best in their family is far more respectful. It’s not a good marketing strategy but it’s honest.
I don’t give guarantees about how your kids will turn out. C’mon… do I LOOK like I have a crystal ball?
So what qualifies me to write for parents?
Whether they are families in distress or my girlfriends and neighbors, I have a lot of experience talking to parents about their universally favorite topic: their kids. From that experience I have come to believe that every parent is doing the best they can with what they’ve got. And that one of the best gifts any of us can give the current generation of kids is to celebrate, appreciate and lift their parents.
I am acutely aware of cultural forces that make it difficult for parents to be as involved as they would like to be. In my opinion, far too many organizations and individuals try to tap into parental guilt as a marketing tool. FOUL! Flag on the play. I respect parents enough to believe that, with a little support and a slight shift in focus, they’ll be able to raise their game.
And if any of that makes me a crappy expert here I stand — guilty as charged!