Parenting – A lesson in hopefulness

When my father died at the young age of 46, I wasn’t quite prepared for that awful empty sadness that would stay with me for years. Even now, although the sadness has passed, I think about him every other day.

If I was asked to describe my father in just 5 words I would say “He was a good father”. Yes simply that, I think. 5 words loaded with possibilities, history and happiness.

My father was a man who strived to make sure everyone in his family was happy. He was a hard toiling no nonsense grazier who, above all, loved his children. His childhood was actually pretty terrible and he made his own way from about the age of 10 when his parents separated. This emptiness he felt as a child I think was the catalyst to the love he showered on us, his precious children. It was as if he had made a promise to himself as a child to be the best parent he could be. He knew what it was like to be bereft of a loving family. He was tough in our teenage years but always fair. That spirit of family and happiness in my father’s, and my mother’s, parenting style when we were very young children has stayed with me all my life and I’m sure my sisters would say the same. It is always those memories as a child that blankets my thoughts. The teenage years barely get a look in and his illness and suffering are all but lost to my thoughts now. It’s my childhood that provides the most pleasant and soothing memories.

It’s funny but I remember my childhood in great detail and I believe that’s because my parents always spoke to their children in hopeful terms even when we were being punished or things weren’t that rosy; there always seemed to be a bright side to everything and always great hope and promise. What a gift they gave to their young children! What possibilities!

As parents, do we speak to our children in hopeful terms? Do we show them possibility over failure? Do we show our children brightness in answer to life’s disappointments?

Do we give them hope? Do we?

To provide your children with hopefulness inspires a lifetime of beautiful memories for them. Surely hope is one of the greatest gifts a parent can provide their child.

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