This is a four step programme for perfect parenting. The first part of being a good parent is to do the right thing. The second step is figuring out what the right thing might be? In any given situation, if you can master these two basic skills you are well on the road to success. All you have to do then, is follow though on your decision and be consistent thereafter forever, the last two steps – persistence and consistency. This masterful, empowering programme should be adopted by all parents worldwide, from the moment the baby gulps the first lungful of air.
I see her pedicured toes, encased in four inch heels, as she totters up the path. Baby carrier slung on one arm, a school age child dragging on the other. I'm uncertain whether she deserves award for 'best effort' or a chair?
I see a father in his business suit berating his son, “why didn't you bring it?” mystified, frustrated and already late for work.
A parent helps her child with the fluttering papers that escape from a back pack, “why did you unzip it?” The baby stroller next to her creeps backwards down the gentle incline.
A mother and son stand in line outside his classroom. Both are immaculately turned out. The mother chats to other mothers. Her son picks his nose with the dedication of a surgeon.
Another mother comes to the end of a rope of her daughter's hair. A skillful, even braid, heavy in the palm of her hand, just before the school bell, “what do you mean you lost the elastic band?” she gasps at the six year old.
So many rhetorical questions that we all say every day wasting lungfuls of air.
And me? I sit on the bench outside the school wondering why I am no longer equipped with two changes of clothing at all times. I dither over the recovery strategy. One bemoans that her new white sports trainers are already falling apart and filthy. Another is covered in dust from head to toe having discovered the joy of scuffing dirt clouds. His new chant of 'dusty, musty, fusty,' begins to rankle. The last one is sodden, soaked through to the skin, having become entangled and then enraptured with a sprinkler on the walk to school.
All perfectly seamless really, in all our different ways.
I see someone's Grandpa leaning against the wall, on substitute parent duty. He watches the children. He watches his lad. As the bell clangs and children dive into air conditioned classes, he moves off, wipes his brow with a white handkerchief and smiles, as well he might.