Parenthood - Burden or Bonus?  

Posted by Brock Booher

Today is my oldest son’s twentieth birthday. I guess you are waiting for the comments where I sound like the “old guy” – “I remember the day he was born just like it was yesterday…” Well, I do remember it like it was yesterday, but that is not the point. Remembering isn’t the key. Reliving doesn’t make it special. Relishing in the relationship is what gives the memory and the hope of future memories deeper meaning.

It is hard to be a parent. Anybody who is a parent will tell you that. Since it is human nature to complain, when parents talk to other parents, it sometimes sounds like parenthood is made up only of selfless drudgery, never-ending control battles, and tolerating countless displays of ingratitude. Like most, I have been guilty of focusing on the negative aspects of being a parent and treating it more like a burden than a bonus.

David O. McKay said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” Truer words were never spoken, yet the weight of the task doesn’t have to make it drudgery or burdensome. No greater happiness can be found in any other endeavor than the noble calling of parenthood. Healthy family relationships are a wellspring of happiness and fulfillment available to both prince and pauper, but only if we treat them as such.

Sometimes my kids tell me I’m a mean Dad, and sometimes they’re right. I focus too much on trying to “teach” and “correct” and not enough time trying to “touch” and “connect”. The burden of the parental responsibility and my fear of failure keep me from enjoying the relationship and drinking deeply from the wellspring of happiness found in the family. I try too hard because failure at home is the worst failure of all.

So to all the parents out there, next time you find yourself feeling the burden of parenthood weigh you down and you find yourself in a gripe session - consider the alternative. Stop. Instead, talk about the joys and the simple pleasures that are found only in the family. Talk about the funny things your children say and do. Share the times when they have lifted you up and taught you. Explain how you have felt as you quietly sneaked into their room and watched them sleep.

I have six wonderful children. They bring me immeasurable joy and happiness. I always look forward to seeing them after work – even when I come home from a trip and complain because the pool is green and nobody noticed. They make my life better, and I don’t tell them that often enough.

Happy Birthday Rian! I am sure you and your siblings will bring me joy for many birthdays to come.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 25, 2009 at Friday, September 25, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 comments

Parenthood is a bonus. I smile when I look back at all the moments we have had with our children. Even the bad moments make me smile because of the growth that came from those challenges AND they where not as big as we thought back them. We are blessed to be parents to 6 awesome kids.

September 25, 2009 at 8:26 AM

Great post and perspective! As my son would tell you, his Mom only wants us to clean, that's all that is important to her is to have a clean house, that's all we do together or she is getting on to me about something......he has told his friends and my friends this several times (although I think part of it he just wants to get out of his chores! lol) but hearing him say this has helped me to stop and let some things go and just listen and do what my children want to do and talk about and focus on them and just being there for them. My Mom has always said no matter what is going on "Save the Relationship" and as my children are now older teens, it surely rings true. Thanks again for reminding me to remember the joys!

September 25, 2009 at 7:34 PM

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