Who do we look to for inspiration as parents? When we are not quite sure of the next step, when the way through difficulty seems unclear, when we're feeling a bit inadequate to the task (why does parenting make us feel that way?)....
We've already visited some of those inspirations this month, from our favorite parenting books to ready-made resolutions offered by one of the wisest preschool teachers we know. And we each have our own private inspirations -- like our friends whose parenting tricks we shamelessly borrow, or our own parents if we're lucky.
Generalities and how-tos can only take us so far, we find. It's those quirky, individual examples that often inspire the most.
Today, we are thinking about a parent immortalized in our new president's wonderful memoir, Dreams From My Father. We are thinking of President Obama's mother, Ann Soetoro, whom he calls "the single constant in my life." As he explains so candidly, she hardly did things by the book. She was a dreamer and an explorer. She took risks and lived unconventionally. She followed her heart to distant places, and took her son with her. But no matter the turns in her own life, she put her children and their education first. We think of the story of her waking the young Barack up at 4am every day to study English, and responding to his complaints, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
All things we might remember when we are balancing our own dreams with our children's needs, when we are getting through tough moments together, and wondering how it will all turn out in the end. We'll be borrowing her line for sure!
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