I heard a woman the other day say "my children are my greatest achievement" This set me to thinking because I was unconvinced it was true, like a lot of women these days her children were only one aspect of her life, she had been well educated, she had a job in which she had done well, served on community groups, was interested in cooking at a high level with which she entertained her friends etc.
So many aspects to her life where she was operating at a high level and yet the "achievement" was her children?
On first glance I thought she was confusing love and affection for acheivement after all few would deny the great love that a parent and potentially especially the mother has for her children. Many parents have given up even their own lives to protect their children in extreme cases and in the less extreme a still significant amount of resources and effort are devoted to children.
But lets be honest, they sort of get there regardless don't they ? I mean there are some terrible parents out there and their children still grow up and some even go on to be great members of society and acheive great things in spite of thier upbringing. So as parents aren't we rather overstating "our acheivement" when we beam with pride at little Jimmys graduation. Our own graduation sure and my reference mother presumably had to put in a lot of effort to graduate herself, but when she had kids... well....
So the dictionary says;
something accomplished, esp. by superior ability, special effort, great courage, etc.; a great or heroic deed: his remarkable achievements in art.
Does this sound like having a child?
Well actually I think it does in the end, it takes great courage to set out on a long journey to bring a child into the world and raise them up. The chances of great hurt along the way are high, some children don't make it and a greater tragedy can not befall a human being, our children will themselves be hurt and we feel all their pain no matter how small or great. Despite my reference to bad parents most try hard as they understand the world to show their children the way and it takes great sustained effort over a long time.
And the rewards, well there are rewards no doubt but it is mostly a selfless act.
So here is to those making that great courageous and heroic effort to be a mum or dad and here is cheers to the giants on who's shoulders we stand our own heroic mums and dads.