This is a working draft of my parenting manifesto. I work best when I have such a chant to keep in my mind.

Repeat to yourself each day you are a parent.

1. Make mistakes. Admit them readily.

Maybe ‘readily” is too strong a word: my child does need some security. But when I think it will be instructive, I have to admit to be learning and growing as well.

2. Everything teaches, so teach everything.

I am here to give my child a toolkit to handle her entry into and experience of the world. I am responsible for her education as a person and citizen and girl and pet owner and all of that. That means each moment is a teaching moment. I have to remember that I am educating my child as much as I can and as such treat my child with the patience and care I show my students even at their most frustrating moments.

I have to draw on all I have to give my child the best instruction I can muster: that means I have to use more than established authority or intimidation to guide her. She has a developing brain and can’t do everything I may want her to do at the time I want it to happen. I must maintain my respect for the beginner at all times, if at all possible. Of course, I will make mistakes, but even that is a teaching moment if handled properly.

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