By far the biggest investment of one’s lifetime is parenting a child. It is an investment that takes 25-30 years of committed labour, love and resources to show signs of maturity.
How can we say if we have succeeded in our parenting endeavour? This is what I attempt to answer here.
But before we get into that discussion, it is important to note the formula of any success. Success in any endeavour depends on three important factors:
- Your hardwork and persistence.
- Your attitude to work and life
- God’s grace (some call it luck or timing or chance- doesn’t matter)
The presence of all three is needed to lead any pursuit to success. This means it is possible to fail in spite of hard work, commitment and the right attitude, because you may simply not have God’s grace.
So, now let me share my perspective on successful parenting. It all simply depends on how the children turn out to be. Successful parenting should simply translate into successful children. Here are the five ways of checking if we have turned out a successful child after 20-30 years of upbringing:
- Education: This is on the top of my checklist because this is something I believe where parents have most control over. Sufficient education which is socially respected is a bare minimum that the child needs to complete under the sponsorship of parents.
- Ability to earn a livelihood: Is your son or daughter earning a livelihood enough to support themselves and their family and maintain a decent standard of living ? Many parents claim that their sons and daughters are capable, but do they have the self-respect enough to fend for themselves, that’s the question.
- Living family value: Are your children living the values that you claim to have passed on to them? Every family has certain set of values and commitment to relationships like for eg. Lotalty to spouse, observing of traditional rituals and so on.
- Growth: I believe a family can prosper only when each generation tries to be as good as the previous generation and then adds a little bit over it to improve. If each generation grows the family wealth, standard of living and goodwill in society, taking it a notch higher than where their parents left off, that is true success. This is truly what makes a proud parent.
- Love: When love given to children finds it’s way back to parents in different forms of care, support and warmth, it is also a solid indicator of your success as a parent.
All these five measures put together define parenting success. Any other success of the child over and beyond this in the form of achievements or contribution to society is icing on the cake. If it seems too complicated, here is a simpler test. Just try answering ‘Are you really proud of your children?’ A simple Yes or No will tell you. If your answer is a definite ‘yes’, that is a solid measure of parenting success too.
When I look at how my parents raised me and my sister and how we turned out to be, I can definitely say they succeeded by far when they say ‘I am so proud of you!’.
And if you are just starting your journey as a parent, think of the three factors I talked about: put in hard work and commitment, keep the right attitude, lots of love and always be humble to seek God’s grace.