Praying for parents

Bruce Clark writes a heart-wrenching book as a stay-at-home-dad. A story of how becoming a father heals and humbles him. In its sadness there is joy — in its darkness there is light, and in its irreverence there is a hint of the sacred.

According to Bruce a parenting manual should “state clearly on page one, ‘The Clock is ticking’”. It is the first thing that every parent should see. The words should be rubber-stamped on your infant’s forehead the very moment he or she is born. You’ve got ten years — maybe fifteen — and only that. On some arbitrary day — which will arrive a lot earlier than you think — it will astonish you to know that your influence has gone. While you were out doing something you thought was important, Elvis left the building. Yes, you might still be doing the school run together and, yes, your opportunities to interact will seem limitless, but the tectonic plates will have shifted. Your child’s personality will be hard-wired. The little person who was once pliant is no more. In his or her place is a unique human being who may look like your child, but has his or her own unchangeable views. The structure is built. The floors, walls, and roof are in place. All that remains is the choice of curtains. And just who will that person occupying your child’s body be? It’s up to you; it’s entirely in your hands. Bringing up children will be the most selfless thing you ever do — if you do it right. If you don’t, if you leave things to chance, if you’re too busy, if you are not respectful of the word ‘promise’, it will be the most selfish. Your efforts will both pave the way for your child and reward future society a thousand-fold, or consign your child to a life of bad options. It’s easy to fix a bellyache but how do you fix bigotry? How do you fix things that require a time capsule to fix them? What can be done about yesterday? What can you do when your child exhibits behaviour of which you’re most likely the cause? … Having children is easy; bringing them up is not.” (Warning: Book contains strong language.)

Praying for parents! Alan

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