Family & Education

Parenting: How to Crush It

BY Barbara Danza TIMEFebruary 27, 2020 PRINT

Do people still say, “crush it?” I don’t know—I’ve been parenting for a while now.

I’m probably at least a decade behind on the popular lingo. Being cool fell off my priority list long ago.

What is on my priority list is being a phenomenal parent. Am I succeeding? Who can say? We’re all just figuring this out as we go. Childhood moves fast—switching phases in the blink of an eye. The moment you feel like you might actually know what you’re doing, your kid moves on, requiring a whole new set of parenting superpowers.

Along the way, though, we each happen upon some realizations, strategies, or truths that take this parenting gig from good to great. Here are ways I think anyone can take the monumental responsibility of parenting and crush it.

Dedicate Yourself

Few responsibilities bestowed upon us in life come close in gravity and importance to that of the role of parent. So, go all in.

Dedicate yourself fully to nurturing your family, providing a magical childhood to your children, and raising upright, kind, and capable people who will carry on the excellent traditions, values, and lessons you’ve bequeathed to them. There’s simply no other way to approach this than with your whole heart.

Bask in the Wonder

The challenges of parenting may be great, but the rewards are beyond measure. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a parent is experiencing the world through your children’s eyes.

From the time they open them, their curious minds begin to be amazed by everything they see. Whether it’s the discovery of tiny little toes at the end of their feet, colorful images in a bedtime story, or their first taste of ice cream, the sights, sounds, and experiences of new places and new things bring new discoveries—and you’re lucky enough to come along for the ride. It’s miraculous to behold and a gift that reminds you of how much there is to appreciate in life.

Keep Things Simple

One might assume that a “magical childhood” consists of rooms full of toys, lavish vacations, and all the latest technology. What truly makes childhood magical, though, is simplicity.

Rein in the temptation to shower your children with too much stuff and opt instead for simple playthings that require imagination, oodles of time in nature, and as few screens as possible. Read books together, cook together, go for walks together, play games together, grow together and cheer your children on.

Living simply means appreciating the little things, being a responsible steward of your resources, choosing healthy, whole foods to nourish your family, and prioritizing experiences over things. The good life is a simple one.

Embrace Adventure

Bottle up that sense of wonder and head out on adventures with your family as often as you can. Whether it’s a day trip, a weekend getaway, or a week or more into the unknown, family adventures are some of the greatest joys of parenting.

When the whole family steps away from the day-to-day routine and heads off together, they can be present, in the moment. Every new place and new experience is a learning opportunity for your children (and you). You’ll bond further as a family and create memories that last a lifetime. They can be as simple or extravagant as you wish, but the point is to just go.

Educate Your Children

Whether you send your children to a traditional school or homeschool them, you are their primary educator. Fill your home with books. Encourage their exploration of the best music and art. Teach them history—most schools miss the mark greatly. Make sure they are competent in reading, writing, and speaking. Help them understand mathematics fully. Dive deep anytime they express interest in any subject whatsoever. Encourage messes, experiments, creativity, and making.

What’s more, teach them your family’s history, the traditions that have been passed down from your elders, and the values you hold in the highest esteem.

Recognize Your Reflection

As much as you’ll teach your children, they’ll teach you. Especially when your children behave in ways that displease you, consider whether or not they are reflecting a character trait you also possess. Discipline your children with wisdom and look within for the lessons they in turn will teach you. They can be little mirrors allowing us to see more of ourselves, if we’re wise enough and brave enough to look.

Take It Day by Day

Nobody does this job perfectly, so give yourself a lot of grace and always remember that tomorrow is another day. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll have regrets. You’ll fumble along like humans tend to do.

At the end of the day, love your children and ensure that they know that no matter what happens you will continue to love them. Teach them well. Be confident that you’re exactly the right person to be their parent. Basically, crush it.

Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart. Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.
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