Invest in parenting

When I was an intern at the then JG Strydom Hospital there was a lady called Spookie who was the co-ordinator of the paediatric ward. She was one of those people who had been around for so many years, that she could make diagnosis on sight that would take the multi-disciplinary team of professional a week of investigation and deliberation  to confirm. She gave me a piece of her wisdom, that when I became a   served me well and which twenty something years later I still share at every opportunity. She said that when your children return from school, they will relate the story of the significant events of their day only once. The first adult that hears it will be the only one. In most cases she warned, that turns out to be the person driving the lift scheme. A story that illustrates the consequence of not taking Spookies counsel to heart is the following.  A personal assistant of a very lonely man told me that when her boss’s children phone she knows just to ask them how much money they require so that she can pass the message on to their father. Inevitably money was the only reason they called him. Many people make the mistake of sacrificing the early years of family life and children’s growing up for a later time which they believe will be more enjoyable because of the money they make in those early years. Many describe their life goals in terms of financial figures, how much they would like to be worth to the bank. It is important to also consider how much you would like to be worth the people who are important to you. Relationships like careers require investment from small beginnings.  Both pay dividends according to the consistency and commitment with which those investments are made. The real investment in children is the investment of time and energy in the everyday mundane routines and tasks of life. It is in the everyday that people build shared history and the intimacy that grows from sharing the most fundamental and mundane aspects of existence. When people get divorced the one who leaves the family home misses most the tripping over the sneakers left in your bedroom, the mess left in the kitchen, the incessant whistling from the bathroom and the chatter that all have the unique fingerprint of the child who created them.  , does not substitute for the quantity of time that is needed for people to get to enjoy and become familiar with each other’s presence and develop the unique bond that grows through such interaction. Investing in the everyday is the only way to accrue long term dividends.

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