[Written, December, 2009]
Imagine a family where both parents had fully healed all their traumas—and as a consequence became fully loving and supportive of one another, and fully devoted to being perfect parents for their child.
Imagine the role models they would be for their child. And imagine the type of adult their child would grow up to become.
He would naturally grow into an adult who loved himself so fully that he would spontaneously nurture others, would be spontaneously empathic and generous, and wouldn’t and couldn’t abuse others—because abuse would be contrary to his nature. He would devote himself to the healing of the whole world, and not because he was projecting his own lack of healing onto others and attempting to heal himself by proxy.
Also, he would be unafraid of confronting hypocrites to their faces. He wouldn’t care if they rejected him, because he would be so strongly connected to his own self-love within. As such, he would be a role model for truth and honesty, and lacking any need for followers to prop up his self-esteem.
The fact that I have met so few people who even remotely approximate this ideal only goes to show how utterly awful most parents are—and how inappropriate it is for most parents to have children. Instead of being role models for health they model the qualities that are so common in our world: selfishness, neglect, cruelty, violence, perversity, immaturity, and rejection.
And we wonder why our world is in such trouble?
Ah, I have to agree with you! But I also must contend that perfection in parenting is impossible, in practice, and in theory, potentially harmful, I’m afraid. My sister is a mother whose perfectionism is her most anxiety- causing trait for her children, I’m afraid.
I love your idealism and supreme moral standards, Daniel, I really do. But I also wonder, since none of us can approximate them, doesn’t it just make people feel bad about themselves? Also, do you ever feel wrong in telling folks that they are basically unfit or unworthy of parenting?