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The air was still until it wasn’t when nature’s breath blew in leaving whispers in the limbs of the trees that line the rear of my backyard. I stood there and watched it stir, the thick trunk rooted deep in the ground with arms that branched out in every direction with hands full of leaves at the end of their extensions. Some had blooms while others promised potential and just as quickly as the breeze forced itself between the open spaces of the foliage it disappeared again leaving a few fallen leaves in its wake.

The other day I listened to a mother vent about the frustrations of raising a teenager and shortly after that conversation I listened to another woman with similar struggles and I found myself completely engrossed in their stories. I find that I’m all in any time a conversation about parenting is approached because while I don’t necessarily agree with the parenting styles of everyone I meet, there is something to be learned from the lessons they’ve taught. There’s hope that I can gain insight from their mistakes and share in their triumphs and apply their experience to my own parenting journey.

Life has a strange way of allowing reason in when we least expect it. Regardless of how solid we feel and how many directions we pull ourselves in, all it takes is one strong wind with purpose for us to hold on as tight as we can to what matters the most. In those times, we realize which dreams are the ones we’re intended to chase and which ones are disposable, left to swim in the cloud’s current while the rest sway with the constant give and take.  We must hold firm to what we know is true from the most concrete part of our foundation and instill the same strength in our children.

Every child is different and no two parents have the same adventure in raising an infant to an adult yet there’s something intriguing and inspiring about the stories of fellow fathers and mothers that leaves me craving for more information. After all, I think it’s fair to say we’re making up the rules as we go. We all want the best for our children. We all want them to be decent human beings with the emotional range of showing compassion and concern and to be cognizant of the way others feel, as well.  In the end, if we aren’t able to do that then we’ve failed.

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