Being a parent is a fun, stressful, and confusing; all at the same time. From birth through the moves into adulthood parents are faced with the challenge of charting a path without instructions. Others can share advice, books are available, and the opportunity to learn on the way is there, but nothing describes today or the opportunities present in the moment. The questions start early and for everyone I know they never end; just change in shape, size, and frequency.
Over the years I have begun to see the overlap in parenting, managing, and relating to others. The three different types of relationships are exactly the same! First, there is no roadmap for relationships. They are what we make them. Second, relationships are, regardless of what we think, about two or more people sharing, growing, and learning together. Ultimately neither party can be “superior” to the other. Third, what happens tomorrow is always linked to the choices individuals make today. At some point, usually a lot sooner than the “older” person realizes, individuals take responsibility for their choices.
The challenge for parents, managers, and even friends, is to recognize and understand our roles. The two words that stand out to me are nurture and 24×7. Letting go is a natural part of the process, even if we don’t feel like it. Changes in communication styles are natural even when we, as the parent, manager, or older person, feel that we are not getting the respect we deserve. Dialogue is at the heart of the process – consistent acts of listening with the intent of learning.
“He [John] looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God's Passover Lamb.” The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus.” (John 1.36, 37)
We have the opportunity to be true friends to those we meet, share bread, and walk along the path with today. We are guardians of our experience with a role in nurturing those around us. Being a parent is 24×7 and difficult; you may not realize you are one so welcome to the club.