Parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done. Seriously. There's nothing that's a close second place! It's also the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I'm always looking for ways to make this gloriously difficult and beautiful task a bit more manageable for myself, my wife and all of us parents worldwide.
I just read an inspiring story from Weird World Education. It reminded me of something every parent needs, and yet, too few of us seem to be willing to share with each other. As I dad and as a guy who has taught college classes, I LOVED this! Here's what happened...
A mom was taking a Master's level class at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her childcare fell through, but instead of skipping class, she decided to take the baby along. When the child started crying, she did what nearly all of us with small children have done at one time or another. She hurriedly started making her way towards the exit embarrassed that she had caused a commotion.
Her professor, Sydney Engelberg, is a father of four and a grandfather of five. Without missing a beat in his lecture, he gently grabbed the baby from her arms and began rocking him as he taught. He silently motioned for her to sit back down. He has always believed that children are important, and so is education, so no one should have to choose one at the expense of the other.
He did what all of us should be willing to do more often... He helped!
Every parent needs help now and then. Yes, you as the parent are ultimately responsible for raising the child, but we can all use some backup! Let's be willing to jump in and lend a hand every now and then. Whether you're a parent or not, here are some practical ways we should all be willing to lend a hand to make each others' lives a little more manageable:
4 ways to make a parent's life easier
(in no particular order):
1. Don't judge them
Instead of rolling your eyes or making a quick assessment of a parent's character or competence when their kids get unruly, have some compassion. You never know their whole story.
2. Encourage them
The world has plenty of critics already. Look for ways to give genuine encouragement. It might be as simple as sending a quick text message with some words of affirmation. Encouragement is a much more powerful force than you might think, and you might just make their day.
3. Pray for them
I believe in the power of prayer, so if you're a person of faith, please pray for me! God's uses prayer to change situations and also to change our own hearts and perspectives about situations. Pray for parents and their kids.
4. Help them!
When it's within your power to offer some practical help whether it's babysitting, picking up a child from practice, running an errand, organizing a playdate, or rocking a baby during a college lecture, be willing to lend a hand. Imagine how much sweeter parenthood could be if we all helped each other along the way.
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.