If you take it really seriously, parenthood is the most challenging job you’ll ever have. The hours are long and the pay stinks. It requires the most emotional investment and the greatest patience. And no matter how well you do it, there will always be that nagging little voice in your head wondering, “Should I have handled that differently?” But parenthood is also the most rewarding and important role you’ll ever play. And the good news is that we're all in this together...

Monday, September 2, 2013


In an interview with the Boston Globe, actress Keira Knightly talked about being drawn to imperfect faces, remembering that her mum always said “Blessed imperfections.” I love that concept, especially when it comes to validating the uniqueness of children pressed by society and their peers to “fit in.” I’ve always tried to encourage my kids to step to their own beat, accepting that the attributes that make them  different are what also make them special. (This is especially helpful when you have offbeat, quirky kids, like I do.) It is tricky, helping children value qualities that set them apart, especially those that can be somewhat off-putting to kids their own age. But some of those “blessed imperfections” that are so challenging to parent (stubbornness, conviction, fierce loyalty…) are character traits that can, if properly tempered by balance and perspective, serve them brilliantly into adulthood. So I’ve tried to treasure them even as I’ve had to develop strategies to survive them…

With the beginning of each school year, kids have the opportunity to reinvent themselves
with new teachers, new classmates, perhaps a new look, a different attitude. Part of it is normal exploration to answer the question,  “Who do I want to be?” But as they develop, this process hopefully leads them to their most authentic self, ultimately able to grow more fully into who they truly are as a unique individual. It is a wise parent who figures out how to help that flourish. As Thoreau so wisely said, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

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