Parenting 101

There are probably thousands or millions of parenting books on the market, and they make money as flocks of people go to read them. Chapters upon chapters that share what it means to be a parent and what you can do to improve on that. I think they are a sham; parents don’t need a book to tell them how to be a parent. If you need a book, you have more problems than you think.

This isn’t a knock on people who feel a little self-help is in order; I’m all for people improving because no one is perfect. That’s not the point of what I’m trying to say, the point is that basically being a parent isn’t something you can read in a book. Kids aren’t looking for a perfect parent; they are looking for “a” parent.

Now this brings us a question: What is a parent? I can tell you that donating genetics to create a human life doesn’t make you a parent; it makes you a genetic donor. I can tell you that a parent shows up to baseball games or at least just shows up when they tell you they will. A parent cuddles you in blankets with waters when you’re sick, and brags about you to their friends. A parent is simply someone who is there and loves you, and your child isn’t left wondering if you care or even remember they exist. I just told you what a parent is in a paragraph. I told you that you didn’t need any overpriced books to learn how to be a parent. You just need to show that you care.

I don’t think that being a parent is a right that anyone can give you. If you don’t stand up and take any responsibility, I don’t think you have any right to your child or to call even claim them as your child. A child is a precious gift, not one that should be tossed aside until it’s convenient. You don’t need to have that child be genetically yours, as long as you love it like it is. If you can’t appreciate your child, I don’t even know where to begin how incredibly awful people should think of you. With the thousands of people who struggle with infertility, you deserve the looks of shame you get from people who are dying for the chance to have a child to love. It saddens me to see parents take it for granted, sickens me almost, that a parent wouldn’t want to be involved. But since I hate ending posts on a sad note, I’d also love to take this moment to applaud adoptive and step-parents for loving and raising these children as their own. It takes special people to step up like that.

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