In Japan they have a saying, Wabi-Sabi, which is the art of imperfection. Meaning that there is beauty in our imperfections.
Parenting is not easy or perfect! Parenting is actually very imperfect. I must admit that there are times I have tried to look and be perfect on the outside when my parenting was far from that on the inside. I have learned from mistakes and experience that it is imperfections that make raising children beautiful and fun.
Here are some suggestions to honoring our imperfections and to be a “Wabi-Sabi parent”:
- Be real – Sometimes we are mad, sad, or upset. Sometimes we are happy, excited, or exuberant. It’s okay for our children to see us in these different roles and learn from how we handle stress and joy. Let your children see you silly and serious. Let them see the soft side of you as well as the frustrated side.
- Be kind to yourself – we are human, so we make mistakes, just as our children make mistakes. This is part of the human experience. We are all on a journey and part of that journey is making mistakes and learning from them.
- Be willing to apologize – When you make a mistake or overreact make it right with your child by admitting you were wrong. That example not only lets them know that you are human, but it lets them know that they can also be forgiven for their mistakes.
- Help! – Parenting can be so challenging, especially if we feel alone. Look for help in friends, family, and even professionals when the job seems too overwhelming. There have been times that telling my frustrating parenting story to a listening ear gives me the courage to face the challenges I’m dealing with more effectively.
- Have a sense of humor – I was at my brother-in-law’s home one night while he was putting his child to bed. The boy was throwing a huge tantrum and screaming “I hate you! I hate you!” He was out of control. Finally, my brother-in-law told the boy in a very loving, syrupy voice, “Oh, that’s so nice of you. It’s opposite day! so that means you love me”. Whereby the boy in frustration with his dad’s patience started screaming, “I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!”
There is not one right way to parent. But as you parent the little cherubs you have charge over, do it with love, patience, and a sense of humor. All the while embracing the imperfection of the experience.