Wayne and his wife recently celebrated their 19th anniversary. Their daughters are in the 7th and 4th grades. Wayne says one is an artist and the other is an athlete. He says helping them shape their ideas about the world and their place in it is his greatest joy and greatest responsibility.
Here’s Wayne Gardiner with his essay for Houston Public Radio’s This I Believe.
“I believe in parenting.
Being a parent is 9 parts love and 1 part discipline. Love that is unending, given freely without expectation. Discipline that is measured and patient, metered out with reason, tempered by love.
My uncle, who never raised his voice above a whisper (unless he was playing cards or catching fish) once told me: “A parent has only to teach his child two things: the meaning of the word ‘No’ and respect for themselves and others”… “everything else” he says, “they will learn on their own or through school…to tie their shoe, counting or the alphabet, even nuclear physics if they choose.” … but the parent has to set the boundaries and the rules.
Rules are not absolute, but must be interpreted in context of the child’s action or of your own. A young child does not know the consequence of their own deeds, an older child should, but a parent must. It is said “your actions speak louder than your words”, but I think it is your attitude that speaks loudest of all. A child has a remarkable insight and a natural sense of justice. A parent may do one thing or another, but the child reads the emotions of your heart and the manner in which you handle yourself. There are NO INVISIBILTY CLOAKS for parents.
I believe being a parent involves self-sacrifice; sometimes going without when need be, going last usually, going forward always. Let your child’s dreams become your own. Plan for your child’s future as if it was your own, but let them live their own lives. And suffer the consequences of their own choices. Support when asked, comfort when needed, and love without hesitation.
The rewards of parenting are not measured by money or trophies or plaques or certificates. But rather by a quiet hug at night, or when you can calm their tears after a bad fall. By their glowing smile when they win a contest or play in the band. Or sometimes, when they wear your shirt and say it smells like you, or you hear your own words when the older sibling tells the younger one what to do.
I believe in parenting, and one day, my children will too.”