Hi there, it's Finley 👋🏼 and Happy Friday.
Today's story takes 2 minutes to read.
Partnership: Blake Brewer has a powerful story about losing his dad at the age of 19. He was featured on the Today's Show this week and shared how he is now devoting his life to helping parents write a Legacy Letter to their kids.
My father was a Pediatrician for 38 years.
I did the math and he himself had over 350,000 sick and well-child appointments in his clinic over the years. Not to mention his other partners, who combined have seen everything you could imagine.
Growing up as the son of a Pediatrician had its big perks (and some decent downsides too).
By far the greatest benefit though is having a dad who could help take care of his sick grandchildren.
It's partly why we live right next door to him. He has seen it all.
A few years into fatherhood, as more and more issues and questions continued to pile up, my Dad finally hit me with it. He dropped one of my all-time favorite nuggets from his well earned vantage point.
Here is why I have clung to that idea for two decades now.
Reason #1: Parents worry, a lot.
When kids are young and developing, most parents want to know "is this normal?" This growth chart, behavior, or reading level...
My father would say almost every answer to that question is YES.
But parents love their kids and tend to worry about the 1-in-a-million chance something is wrong. Or worse, that their child is 'falling behind.' Which leads us to...
Reason #2: Parents compare, often.
It's natural, normal, and expected. But comparison does kill.
Just because your best friend's child is switch-hitting at age 7 and you hear about it every day, doesn't mean your child isn't any good.
It is normal for your child to be good at some things and not as proficient at others. They are still growing and developing!
Reason #3: Parents live shortsighted.
Our hurry-up and advance culture convinces parents their child is falling behind. Rushed kids rarely respond well.
Parents are gifted at missing the big picture, whether it is the fear of getting left behind in a sport, not reading as soon as his sister, or struggling to make new friends.
"Son, there is a wide range of normal."
Reason #4: Parents idolize special.
"No, not my kid. My kid is special."
I hate to break it to you. You have normal kids. Remember when they were first born? What did you hope for? Normal. Nothing extra, different or special. When did that outlook change?
For me it probably started around 12 months. Is my daughter walking before my friends son? Oh, she's gonna be special.
Nope, there's a walking range, like everything else.
Yes your kids are unique and wonderful and different. They are yours!
But when it comes to growing and developing in any area...
Take comfort from my father's words.
There is a - w i d e - range of normal for your kids.
Firm & Kind
"You want 'parenting' in 2 words (from a child psychiatrist who has 6 kids). Here is it... firm and kind.
If you just always think about those two words combined, you're going to be a good parent.
Kids need boundaries and they need you to enforce them, but not with anger or meanness.
If you stop and think about the best coach you ever had you realize, they (1) noticed what you did right and (2) taught you when you needed to do better.
Think of the worst coaches you ever had and instead they (1) noticed what you did wrong and (2) then they belittled you.
You want to be a great parent? Be firm and kind."
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