The title of this piece may be the most powerful and succinct parenting advice that I have ever heard and it came from my own mother. And it wasn’t directed at me (for a change). I don’t have to ask her for advice; she gives it freely and without solicitation! It is usually correct, but some days I don’t want to hear it frankly. However, a friend of mine who is also a parent asked my mother the other day, “What is your parenting advice?” Without skipping a beat, she said rather matter-of-factly, “Just do your best and hope for the best. That is all you can do.”
Now, my mother is 76 years old and has always been a wise woman, but this quick and casual answer made me think twice about all the advice she has given me over the years as a child, young adult and now as a parent of my own children. And I ask myself, ‘What did I miss because I wasn’t listening fully?’ My Mom and Dad are always the first people I go to with a question or crisis about parenting or life in general, for that matter. For example, one night when I thought my son might be headed toward having a seizure (it turned out to be a night terror but the terror was all mine, trust me!), after I called 911, I called my mother. She was there at the same time as the EMTs, maybe even before them! That’s just the type of dedication both my parents and my sister have had for me and my children. That is a blessing beyond belief.
Anyway, I felt it important to pass this along to my readers because it is such simple, positive advice. I recognize that some issues and problems with children require research, attention, specialists or what have you. However, once the work is done (which really is the parent doing their homework and doing their best), then you have to sit back and hope for the best. The movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’ had a line by Morgan Freeman where he uttered, “Hope is a dangerous word.” The movie, if you have seen it, of course has nothing to do with parenting but it is a powerful line delivered by an equally powerful actor. When it comes to parenting, however, there is love, patience, courage and yes indeed, hope. Thank you Mom for always knowing the right thing to say and caring enough to say it.