Everybody knows that kids brought up in a "normal" two-parent household -- "normal" meaning that the two parents are a heterosexual married couple, of course -- turn out just the way they're supposed to, right? It's as easy as baking cookies: Follow the recipe exactly and presto! You'll be rewarded with perfect cookies.
What's that you say? The formula doesn't always work so well? You'd think it was foolproof, given the "outrage" over NYC couples like Andy Berg and Dominic Pisciotta, who are now raising their children as a legally married pair. Not that they were raising them any differently before, or that they weren't doing such a fabulous job that it was the kids who insisted their dads be married on the very first day it was possible for same-sex couples to get married by the state. The point is, now that it's "official," people feel the need to drag out the old dead "children need a mother and a father" horse and beat it up some more. Really?
You might find this shocking, but guess what? Growing up with a "mom" and "dad" doesn't stop kids from having issues, nor does growing up with a mom and a mom or a dad and a dad or just a mom or just a dad guarantee that kids will have issues. I know this for a fact.
My parents weren't together when I was a kid -- I barely even saw my dad until I was about 18 (though we developed a very strong relationship after that, which I never expected to happen). Now it's my turn to play divorced mom -- but it's a different gig than the one my mom had, because, unlike me, my two kids get to see their dad all the time.
So, here's something I've noticed, as a lifelong resident of "broken homes." Actually, another product (and creator) of a broken home said it best, years ago, so you'll excuse me if I borrow his words to tell you the secret to raising a happy, healthy family:
All you need is love.
Kids need to be raised by people who love them, first and foremost. This is a million times more important than any other quality in a parent, eclipsing gender, finances, religion ... everything. Kids need to feel loved and they need to know that the people they love also love each other. It's when bitterness, anger, and resentment take the place of love in a family that kids come out either burnt or half baked.
I'm pretty sure Andy Berg and Dominic Pisciotta's kids are going to be some of the best cookies ever.
Do you think the most important ingredient in raising a family is love?
Image via Keshet/Flickr