Dear Campus School Families,
There are times when I am sitting at my desk attempting to write one of these reflections and – nothing. Bereft of good ideas or insights that might be worth sharing I look, instead, at the cursor blinking on my computer screen. Its unrelenting pulse is like the tick tock of a clock, reminding me that time is wasting. Eventually, however, something does click. It might not be in that moment and it will often come from a direction I did not anticipate, but at some point the cursor starts moving to the right and an idea starts taking shape.
The terror of the blank page is a little like parenting – they can both be daunting. So we try to arm ourselves with information that might be of use. We read books and listen to parenting experts. We ask for advice from family and friends. But still, there is this life in front of us that is largely contingent on our parenting efforts and abilities; it is a bit like the blank page demanding a response, asking us to do something, anything, that will be of value and make a difference.
There is no question that parenting is one of the most challenging things we will ever do. And we do it with little to no training. Some of it can be learned and much comes instinctively, but as I look back over the course of my own parenting experience (my eldest is now 31) I am stunned at how unprepared I was, how much of it was improvised, and how, if I had known any better, I would have been frozen in place by the responsibility of it all.
So we try our best, learn from our mistakes, and realize that other forces – schools, friends, genes, culture – have much to contribute to the parenting equation. It’s on us but it isn’t just us. That’s a relief, especially when we seek support from sympathetic people who help us with the responsibility of raising children.
And when we finally realize we mostly know what we are doing, when we are composing the poetry and prose that is parenting, the blank pages fill up and a story emerges - of children, family, and love. Parenting is a creative act and all creation begins with an awareness of what could be. Perhaps, then, the focus should be on the exhilaration of the blank page and the awesome parenting story just waiting to be written.