I thank this community for putting together such a beautiful event to support the expectant parents we gather to honor today. I’m humbled to have been asked to answer the burning questions that assail first-time parents, passing on time-honored wisdom about child-rearing as we welcome the members of this new generation into our community.
Indeed, those who say that it takes a village to raise a child speak truer than you know. The village that is present here today—the community of which you are a part—will be your bedrock when things get rough. Find your footing on that solid ground now, building relationships with one another so that you can support each other in this incredible journey.
Nothing is more beautiful than bringing life into this world. In my ancestral dialect, we say that the earth falls silent every time a new life enters it. Today we celebrate with you as the birth of your child draws near. Together, we rejoice—and we offer you our unconditional support as you embark on the journey of a lifetime.
Your voyage of discovery will be a miraculous one, but you will find yourselves equal to the task. You and your abilities are enough. You will be all things to your child.
And yet you need not be a supermom or superdad. Don’t parent with a cape on—your ordinary clothing will suffice. Parents who try to be superheroes have the best of intentions, but they burn out when the stress piles up. You have many years ahead of you, and your children will need you during all of them. So conserve your energies!
Parents’ transition to greatness occurs naturally, over time. We and our children grow together. Contrary to what so-called parenting gurus say and cape-wearing parents believe, you have the innate capacity to be not just good parents but great ones.
So don’t play to an audience. Society will expect you to show off your parenting externally, where all can see. We’ve all seen it in the playgrounds where exhausted parents run themselves ragged trying to prove that they are good parents—because they believe that’s how good parents behave. Of course you’ll be there for your child—both physically and emotionally. But don’t try to live up to standards handed down by so-called experts or imposed on you by others’ expectations. Set your own standards—and then own them.
Your transition from being a good parent to being a great one will occur through many years of trial and error. Be mindful, to be sure—but be compassionate with yourselves. Don’t waste your energy comparing your own parenting skills with those of the would-be superheroes you see frantically running around you. You are in this for the long haul.
Today I will leave you my best piece of advice: Believe in your abilities. Enjoy motherhood and fatherhood. Love your child with a divine love—and extend that love to yourself and to your spouse. You are able to raise your child well, to teach him or her to love and to empathize with others, so that one day, your child will model his or her own parenting style on yours. Enjoy your incredible gift!
Alene Mathurin is a Certified Life Coach, Writer and Speaker. Call 862-202-0765 to book her for your next speaking engagement.