Thursday, August 23, 2007

Parental Bias

It's both a blessing and a curse that parents are biased toward their children. It is difficult for us to see them objectively, to see them as others see them. We tend to focus on the behavioral problem they're exhibiting at the moment and not the unique talents they're developing. We remember the temper tantrum much longer than the impromptu hug and declaration of affection.

We're convinced that our children are the only ones who (mis)behave this way, and we're mortified that someone outside the family might see it. We react with pride mixed with disbelief when someone approaches us to tell us how wonderful our children are. We're glad they think so, but we wonder if they are really paying attention.

Instead it's probably we who are not paying attention. Or perhaps just me. Perhaps everyone gets it already and I'm the only slow one.

This morning I came upstairs to find my middle child in the hallway upstairs. From my vantage point down the hall and down a flight of stairs I was for a moment able to see him with a stranger's eyes. He is a cute little boy with a enthusiastic sparkle in his eyes. For a moment I wanted to run to him, gather him in my arms and hold him tight.

I didn't. But I probably should have. There may not be too many years left in which he'll let me.

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