Raising the Parent

By Riad Mahmood

I often ask myself the question “Am I raising a child as a parent or am I raising myself as a person and a parent?”

This is something that I have asked myself on numerous occasions. Do I focus on myself as an adult or on my child, as a parent trying to raise him? I realised that I started off by trying to guide him, telling him what is right or wrong or simply expecting him to do all the right things without wondering what I was doing. Parents play a huge role as impressionists; it is almost what parenting is all about, making an impression.

Children, I believe, each have a definition of their own and if you read through this definition you will see the character of that child. Does the character of a human being change or does it just evolve? How can we expect our children not to be what they see or what they are born with? So much of their definition has a portion of our characters in it that it feels like they were born with it.

As a parent I have felt that my role is all about revealing myself or parts of myself at different times. I feel like I am being tested by my child! How am I managing myself in different situations or how am I handling and managing my life in front of my child? Am I revealing myself with honesty, leaving it up to my child to learn from what he sees? How much of myself can I hide from my child? It’s these thoughts that make me wonder whether I am actually being raised as a person or as a parent. Am I really raising my child other than providing for him? Does he really need my instruction or my command or is it that what he really needs is to watch me grow?

I wonder if parenting can bring about a certain realisation within me; maybe I can actually use parenting to work on myself and not focus too much on working on my child. One day I lost my temper in front of him; I jumped a queue in one instance. I had to practise what I preached and I had to do what I told him to do. My son made me realise how much I need to work on myself before I work on him!

Time spent with our children is so crucial and also what we do during the time we spend with them. Is it spent trying to entertain them, spoil them or protect them? Or is it spent letting them make a mistake, letting them fall and doing our work in front of them and showing them who we really are and can be? Time is such a valuable commodity these days that it just flies away and never comes back. We can never regain lost time nor can we afford to lose it.

Every day I tell myself I must spend some quality time with my son but seldom find the time to do so. Where does he spend his time? Reflecting on the fact that time together is precious is a step towards actually focusing on being a more equipped parent and not just a provider.