Do your children have parents or competitors?

Shiny, Happier People

To describe the vast and varied role of the parent we turn to a whole list of occupations—doctor, police officer, counselor, game designer, bus driver and more—like jeweler.

Yes, jeweler.

Each child is a gem with multiple facets that reflect light. When Dad shines his light, it brings out a shine that is different than the light coming from Mom, who’s light brings out something different than grandpa’s or the teacher’s. We very likely see this in ourselves. Different friends bring out different aspects of who we are. We may share our worries with one, a love for movies with another and do cross fit with yet another. It is not necessarily that one friend is more valued than another, rather that, with each, we simply share and reflect different facets of ourselves.

I bring this up because sometimes in families we undervalue and underutilize this gift of unique parental differences as we share discipline and emotional support for children. One parent may resent that a child seems to accept leadership more easily from the other parent. One may feel emotionally left out because a child shares life experiences more easily with the other. It is okay for parents to play to each other’s strengths (and, good humor aside, not lord them over one another).

If a preschooler has less resistance at bedtime when Dad leads the tooth brushing, then everyone wins. If Mom manages more patience with emotions while coaching homework, everyone wins. Whenever children flow more easily and everyone is calmer we can affirm the unique light each parental jeweler sees reflected through their gem of a child.

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