Navigating Island Parenting – Enjoy Your Children

By : Mutryce Kennings-Williams

Today’s parenting style can be likened to being on a merry-go-round. It seems as if we are constantly going around and around. There is always something to do as time waits on no man. There is always something to do in order to ensure that our children “get ahead.” At times, we behave like that rabbit in Alice Wonderland, so much to do and so little time. It is chop, chop, chop or go, go, go because as one friend puts it “our children have so much against them” so as parents it is our responsibility to ensure that they are prepared for the challenges that they will encounter. Her view, “We can’t afford to drop that ball. The merry-go-round is therefore a necessity.” There are brief stops of course, stops brief enough to transition onto the next thing. Even what we refer to as “quality” time is scheduled. As a matter of fact, it is entwined into that merry-go-round ride.

Another friend questioned whether she was pushing her children too hard, and asked what the “right” balance was. I didn’t have the answer to her question. These two encounters however set me thinking about my parenting style. Where did I fall on this spectrum? A mother of two young sons, I have been on that merry-go-round myself, however I have come realize that there are times when that merry-go-round needs to come to a complete stop and you just have to be. There are times you have to make that ‘conscious’ effort to just enjoy your children.

In our culture this may sound ludicrous because many of us were socialized to believe that children are beings to be cajoled, raised or “brought up” not beings to be enjoyed. Our viewpoint, it is the parent’s responsibility to clothe, feed and make sure that the child walks the straight and narrow. Most importantly it is our duty to ensure that he or she, not depart from the teachings that we have instilled. But to enjoy the child; this is a thing most preposterous! The thought, your child is your child and not your friend or “company.” There should be no “cack, cack” or “hee or hawing” as an aunt of mine used to say. A child should know his or her place which is one of obedience and subservience. In our culture, there are definitely clear lines of demarcation in the parent-child relationship. Does it always have to be like this? Should this remain the status quo or rather do we need a cultural shift where we simply take the time, and trust me I know how scarce time is when you are a parent, but shouldn’t we make that effort to find the time to spend with our children, to “cack, cack” or “hew or haw” with our children, to simply be with our children? Isn’t this or rather shouldn’t this be what life is all about, because at the end of the day who or what do we leave behind?

He is Only Two and a Half
Author Unknown
Hold him a little longer,
Rock him a little more,
Tell him another story,
(You have only told him four)
Let him sleep on your shoulder,
Rejoice in his happy smile,
He is only two and a half, for a little while.

Oh Give Me Patience
Author Unknown
Oh give me patience when wee hands,
Tug at me with their small demands,
And give me gentle and smiling eyes,
Keep my lips from hasty replies
And let not weariness, confusion or noise,
Obscure my vision,
Of life’s fleeting joys,
So when in years to come my house is still,
No bitter memories its room may fill.

Parenting Quotes
“Children are often punished for being human. They are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad attitudes, disrespectful tones, or bad days, yet as adults we have them all the time. None of us are perfect. We must stop holding children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves.” Unknown
“There is no one perfect way to be a mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills, and abilities and certainly different children. What matters most is that a mother loves her children deeply.” Elder M. Russell Ballard
“The amazing thing about becoming a parent is that you will never again be your own first priority.” Olivia Wilde
“Children don’t need more things the best toy they can have is a parent who gets down on the floor and plays with them.” Bruce Perry
“The attitude that you have as a parent, is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember who you are.” Jim Henson

Recommended Reading for Children
The Berenstain Bears – Forget Their Manners by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Classic Treasury of Aesop’s Fables Illustrated by Don Daily
The Berenstain Bears – Show Some Respect by Jan and Mike Berenstain

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