When I was little, I used to think the world of my teachers. They knew all sorts of cool stuff about subjects like math, geography, grammar, etc., and the best part was that they were always eager to tell us all about it. It took a lot of patience and hard work, but for the most part, they always got through to us- or at least through to me. Their guidance was so essential to my growth as an individual that it was impossible not to think of them as flawless individuals.
A long time ago, before formal schooling, and even centralized government existed, the two people who brought you to this world were considered your guidance. We all know that at the time, this was only possible through the mating of a man and a woman. Back in the hunter-gatherer societies, these two people who made a baby, had a lot on their minds, but probably most of it had little to do with the proper raising of a child. In fact, if the small group needed to move, they would get rid of the babies because they would get in the way. Why not get rid of them if they could make some more later?
As societies, and human thinking, evolved, the cost of human lives increased. This meant that leaving babies behind was no longer a practice- well, not for the majority in the Global North. Instead, we were now in a time period in which children were needed to work in the farms, and later on, in factories. After all, they had the little hands that were so essential to industry then!
Then there was another push in thinking and people began to say wait a second, this is not okay (again, let’s not forget there is still child labor in the world). Perhaps somewhere around this time parenting became the activity we think of it now. Wait, that would mean adults texting while their kids are trying to talk to them… let me rephrase, I meant the parenting we thought of before cellphones were a thing.
There is an underlying assumption here, however, that the “perfect” union between a man and a woman always yields the best parenting. People who always say this make my statistical knowledge go crazy however. Studies that have shown (if any) that a man and woman are better for children than anything else, did not consider same-sex couples. This is mostly the case because most of these studies were done before people began to realize that same-sex couples could have a family. What is more, if the alternative is a single parent, or no parents, then of course a mommy and a daddy lead to the best outcome. But even here we run into more problems.
First, we are talking about the ideal-type parents. But guess what, most people do not even sit down and make a conscious choice of having a child. There are parents who become so by chance, there are some who don’t really care about their children or their formation, and there are some who just leave or abandon their child.
Second, a man and a woman was thought to be an ideal for parenting because if you had a boy, daddy could tell you all about working in the mines. And if you had a baby girl, mommy could tell you all about cooking and cleaning, so you could be ready for… marriage. Let’s not forget, however, that this assumption is no longer relevant in an age in which gender roles have loosened to favor individualism. Also, knowledge was a lot more difficult to access before the Internet era. If we have a son in the future, I don’t have to worry about teaching him how to put a tie on (though I know how to do it) because they can Google this stuff (which will have safe search on, of course)!
Being a woman married to a man or a man married to a woman does not make you a good parent. What you and your partner (or just yourself, if that’s the case) do for your child is what makes you a good parent. When you are a guide to them and teach them good values so that they can succeed in life, that’s when you become a good parent.
A good environment that is conducive to a happy and healthy life is easier to achieve when both of parents (regardless of their sex) love each other and their kid deeply. I have seen my grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts and cousins in troubled relationships. I have seen their kids (and myself) suffer for it. They are/were simply men and women making mistakes mostly because their unions weren’t based in love. Sometimes, simply because they were human, and we humans tend to err, A LOT. And sometimes because they didn’t learn well from their own parents.
I know I didn’t learn much from my parents (thankfully). My mom never took that much interest in my education, and my dad never really taught me about finances (which was probably a good thing). I had no idea what to do on my first date or what to write about in my college admissions essay. My parents, that is my mommy and daddy, weren’t there for me. But thankfully, I had my grandma and plenty of teachers eager to fulfill that role. What I do know for sure is that when the Mrs. and I have children, we will try our best for our children. Not because society or the church tells us so, but because we love each other and that love will extend to our children (why wouldn’t it if we’re making little versions of each other!). We won’t be perfect, but we will never stop trying to be. We will certainly make sure that our children’s teachers will fulfill only secondary roles, rather than the role that was meant for us- and we do not take this lightly.
So go ahead people, keep throwing in incorrect statistical data. Drive me crazy all you want, but that won’t change the way the Mrs. and I will approach our parenting roles in the future. It will also not make us non-ideal parents.
-Mrs. This One