Take time to laugh

2012-04-20 00:00

LIFE today is very different from how it was 50 years ago.

So many things have changed, from cellphones, the Internet, greater medical care, sport facilities, and so the endless list continues. With this how-

ever, come greater expectations of our children, others and of ourselves.

We expect, because so much more is known about education, that our children’s teachers should all be able to know exactly what to do in every situation. As there is so much information available on parenting and education we expect ourselves to be able to figure it all out and as our children have many more resources available to them than past generations had, we expect them to perform and achieve in a way to match it all.

This may not even be something that one is consciously aware of, but it seeps into our attitudes, commitments, lifestyle and relationships. We rush our children from one extramural to the next. We rant and rave over misbehaviour, we sigh over yet another poor school report. We hurry them to their extra lessons, and we sit up late at night trying to figure out just what has gone wrong and who’s to blame? If grace is not ushered in we stand on the brink of a family and personal melt-down.

At times, when all seems to be falling apart — our parenting is just not effective, our children are playing up in every direction, meals are not on time and our child may be failing a subject — we often strike out trying to solve it all at once.

Trying to be super mom or super dad, we trip over all the inconsistencies and feel more confused and inefficient than before. At times like these we often need to stop and remember that we are, in fact, mere mortals. We need to accept that at times we will fail, our children will fail and even their teachers and coaches will fail. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves and those around us. Ah, the sweet gentle nectar of grace.

Once we are able to accept that we are mere mortals, and that we can hold it all together, we can step back and take a moment to smile and

finally laugh.

We can laugh at the fact that in reality no one can be all they expect themselves to be. We can laugh at how ridiculous some of our expectations of ourselves are and the expectations we have of others. We can laugh with the freedom that grace brings. We can laugh with the beauty that surrounds us and laugh as we see that beautiful, dirty face that looks up at one at the end of each day, wanting nothing more than to be accepted unconditionally.

Once this point has been reached, we’ve accepted that we are in fact not perfect, we are sometimes going to get it all wrong and that life does get messy, one is ready to face the future head on and make plans to help patch up the gaps.

One can then step back and see what really matters and what areas our expectations need to be raised and excellence is expected.

It’s only once we let grace seep into our lives and the lives of our children and those around us that we are able to truly let go of trying to be

super human and be able to enjoy life and live it to the full.

• Joanne Madgwick is a parenting and educational consultant. Find out more about her at www.susaparentcentre.com

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