When Claire Danes took home the Screen Actors Guild award for her role as Carrie Mathison in Homeland last night, she mentioned the old adage "it takes a village to raise a child" in regards to being a new mom. (She then dovetailed into talking about how great her castmates are, but we're going to stick with the former part of the sentiment, as this is a parenting site and all.)
Boy, is that a true statement.
We can be the best mothers or fathers in the world, and do everything in our power to ensure our children turn out okay, but at the end of the day, there's something much, much bigger than just us.
You don't really get how much credence this statement holds until you have a child of your own. I didn't, at least. And neither did a lot of people I know. I have many friends who bought homes before having kids, and now all of a sudden want to up and leave because the school district is crap, or because the area doesn't feel safe enough. I mean, think back to all the things that influenced you growing up -- it goes way beyond your parents. And there's nothing that can be done to change that.
A million and one things determine the kind of person your child is going to turn out to be: The town or country they live in; the religion they practice, should they have one at all; the school they go to; the sports they play; the people they hang out with; the food they like. It's an endless list. And it's also, perhaps more simply, referred to as living.
We can only do so much when it comes to our babies. We can love them as much as we possibly can; keep them safe; and scrape every last penny to live in a house zoned for a good school district or whatever. But at the end of the day, there's a lot that's out of our hands. We're not the only people or things our kids will encounter on Earth. Nor should we be. That would be weird.
It's tough being a parent, man. And it's scary to think that we can work so hard to raise a child one way, and there are so many other factors involved. Hopefully, the tools we choose to give our kids early on will help them make good, smart decisions, should our children's metaphorical villages ever get rocky.
Dear god, hopefully.
Do you worry how other people/places/things will influence your baby?
Image via david_shankbone/Flickr