S&H is increasing its parenting-related content. Editor Ben Nussbaum explains why.
Our longtime columnist Paul Sutherland writes about fatherhood in this issue. He states that instead of spending his time encouraging and teaching others how to invest, start businesses, or even grow spiritually, he wishes he had focused on one thing: Exhorting men to become better fathers.
If you’ve been to spiritualityhealth.com lately, you may have noticed that we’ve added more coverage of topics of interest for anyone who is around kids—parents, teachers, aunts or uncles, grandparents, neighbors.
I often think of a conversation I had with a friend almost a decade ago. I was preparing to leave my demanding full-time job to be a stay-at-home dad. This was territory he knew well from his own non-linear career and life path. He told me that parenting would make me a better person. In fact, he stressed it to the point where I became a little offended. I was pretty sure I was already a good person!
Why has this stuck with me? I think it’s because, at the time, I didn’t really think of parenting as part of my own inner journey. I guess I thought I would make a bunch of memories, take a lot of pictures, and head back to office work after a couple of years, refreshed but basically unchanged.
In fact, parenting—hands-on parenting—is a crucible of self-development.
A job is about doing. Parenting is about being.
The doing aspect of parenting—driving, cooking, helping—is secondary. Anyone can drive a car while kids are in the backseat. What matters is who you are while you drive them. At the end of the day, there’s only one lesson you get to impart to your kids, and it’s how you exist in the world. And that, of course, is an intensely spiritual matter.
In Paul’s column, he suggests that women could give men a bit more space to parent in their own way. In general I think leeway is always a good idea. Parenting is hard, and we’re all just figuring it out as we go along.
I look forward to hearing what you think of Paul’s take on parenting. It seems clear, though, that a more engaged spirituality can be of assistance to parents regardless of gender. Parents who are spiritually secure can more easily brush off expectations they don’t want to be burdened with in the first place—while being confident in their own choices.
I’m so glad that when my kids were younger I could go on an adventure with them and come back dirty, hungry, bug-bitten, and happy. And then wake up excited to do it again the next day. That’s what I wish for every mom and dad.
—Ben ([email protected])