Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when parents and children recognize that parents are not asked to be perfect parents. While yet in our pre-mortal existence, Heavenly Father told us that He had a plan whereby we can return to His presence and live with Him for eternity. The main purposes for our coming to earth were to gain a physical body and to gain knowledge and experience. Part of that knowledge and experience comes when we assume the role of parents. Wise parents can learn much from their children.
Anne Hinton Pratt has an interesting article titled “Perfect Parenting Is Not The Plan.” Pratt writes of the difficulty of being a parent and how some of us belief we have to be “perfect parents.” She shares an experience of “a dear friend” who was enlightened about parenting. Like most parents of older children, she was feeling a little guilty that she did not understand while rearing her children what she understood after they were grown.
While she was in this thought, the voice of the Spirit whispered to her: “It isn’t a shame, but a cause to rejoice! You have improved and grown. It is not the plan for children to be born to perfect parents, but that through parenting you learn important and true principles and experience personal growth. It is ok if your children aren’t perfect when they leave your home. Your children’s growth does not end after they are raised, but continues just like yours has, and as they parent their own children, they will continue to learn and grow. In fact, some lessons are better learned as a parent, than as a child. You have already had the experience of being raised by perfect parents in the pre-existence. Now this earth life is a new experience for you, and being a perfect parent is not in the plan.”
Pratt’s entire article is very informative and helpful, and I suggest that you read it in its entirety. I would like to briefly share her counsel on “how to maximize our learning” as parents. Her suggestions are: (1) “Learn to love the way God loves; to love someone no matter what they say, no matter what they do.” (2) Learn to forgive others and yourself. (3) Learn from your children. (4) “Be humble enough to repent and admit when we’re wrong? (5) Recognize that “You were given exactly the right children to bring out your best AND your worst” in order to help you to grow the most. “Thank God for those children.”
Pratt suggests that we ask ourselves, “How much do I repent, forgive and love?” instead of wondering how perfect we are at parenting. We do not need to be perfect parents, but we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by being responsible parents.