Thursday, April 28, 2011

SUZI: Start As You Want To Go On

Before I had Cooper, I read a short article called “Start As You Want to Go On.”  The author encouraged parents to decide now how they will parent in the future (but the concept can be used for any area of life).  How will you handle discipline?  What kind of person do you want to model for your children?  What will be important to you?  What do you expect from your children?  The author spoke about deciding those things before they actually occur so you can start out the way you want to be years down the road.  Then there’s not a lot of re-doing and back-peddling.

After reading it, I sat down and started writing about various areas that were important to me.  Things I wanted to do and the way I wanted to be.  I ended up with two pages.  I decided it would be a type of “manifesto” about the person I wanted to be.  I was also curious about how my feelings would change once I actually had the baby.

A few weeks in, I decided that I needed to reread the manifesto every so often to remind myself of what I wanted to be and do.  The only problem?  I couldn’t find it.  Anywhere.  I had lost my manifesto!  I laughingly told myself, “How can I be a great parent if I don’t have a paper telling me what to do?”

Have you thought about the person you want to be?  If you found out today that you only had a short time to live, would you be ok with the person you are and what you’ve accomplished in life?  Do you have things around you to remind yourself to stay on track?  I get sidetracked at times, and it helps me to see my thoughts in writing.  It’s a good way for me to gain some quick perspective and get back to what it most important to me.

Just before we left for Prague, I found the manifesto.  There it was in my journal…a place I had already looked countless times.  I had flipped passed it and somehow didn’t see it.  As I reviewed it, there were some things that I was right on with.  Others…well… it was a good reminder.  (Like “I will speak kindly no matter how tired I am.”  That doesn’t always happen.  But I’m working on it.  Or “I will be thankful for every moment with my child, even if it is difficult or frustrating.  This season will pass too quickly.”  Remembering this helps me when Cooper sits at my feet, grunting non-stop because he wants to be picked up.  A lot.)

I think it helps to give these things some thought. Hopefully, one of these days when I’m on my deathbed, I can look back and say that I accomplished what I wanted and was the person I should have been.  Now if I could just keep from losing the manifesto!

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