PREPARATION FOR PARENTHOOD

This week on Candles Online, we are discussing the importance of preparation in our lives. There are things that you can enjoy the most when you dive in head first, but for a majority of important events in our lives, we feel that we must prepare ourselves. Is parenthood one such event? Without doubt, yes. And yet, it often throws even seasoned parents into a conundrum.

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Source: Good Parentig Quotes

No matter how many books you read, or gyan you get from mothers around you, or prenatal yoga you do, nothing helps you get back on your feet faster than the thought of your newborn unattended. The stitches from my C-section still burnt with intense pain but one whimper from my daughter would make me spring up from my hospital bed. I wouldn’t entrust her feeds to anyone else. I’m sure many mothers will agree with me when I say that their mothering experiences were quite different from the one’s around them in certain aspects. The same goes for parenthood in general. No amount of research on being a parent is enough when you’re tackling a toddler who refuses to brush her teeth with ‘pink’ toothpaste and wants the ‘blue’ one instead. Aaaah, now there wasn’t anything about toothpaste choices in that book on parenting, was there? Don’t bother checking. There may be a thousand, no make that a million, other instances that the book doesn’t offer advice on. Why? Because every parent and every child is unique.

So should we not prepare for parenthood?

Of course, you must! While much of the learning about parenting happens on the job, there’s still a lot you can learn beforehand by observing others, through books, even through your own experiences as a child. For example, I am eternally thankful for the parenting books I read that acquainted me with the bowel movements of newborns, or else I may have had a heart-attack when I saw my daughter’s first few stools changing colours after every two days!

So yes, books, videos, the experiences of others, they all help you prepare, but the very first step in preparing for parenthood is preparing oneself, and by this I don’t mean buying things for the child, or redecorating your home to make it baby-proof, or going to the doctor or taking your health supplements on time; I mean preparing oneself emotionally to become a parent.

Two days back I talked to my best bud who is not a mother yet and we were discussing how some of our friends are second-time parents already, whereas she couldn’t conceive of being mommy to even one child because she thought she wasn’t prepared for it. What did she mean by that? Not prepared financially? Or her residence wasn’t baby-proof? Or that her career didn’t allow her to be a mother? It was all of that too, but mostly she meant that she wasn’t yet ready to take on the responsibility of taking care of a child. She wasn’t emotionally prepared.

Why is emotional preparedness important for being a parent when it’s your body and your pocket taking care of the child? It’s because biologically, after attaining puberty, most people can become parents very easily. Some are as young as just teenagers when they become first-time parents, but to be a good parent, one must be willing to take that responsibility and ensure that they will do their best to be good role models to their children. 

 

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Source: Pinterest

From what I have learnt after being a parent, parenting is all about being responsible, sacrificing and setting a good precedent for your child. Parenting is a lot of work and most of the time it’s a thankless job. Oh! also most of it is guesswork. Add to that, today’s definition of a parent does not limit itself to ‘someone who takes care of a child’ because the term ‘childcare’ itself means taking care of the physical, emotional, educational, financial and spiritual needs of a child. No wonder it’s a confusing experience for most first-time parents, but let me tell you, it isn’t any less confusing for second and even third, or fourth-time parents, because every child is unique! Again taking an example from my own life, my mother tells me, I gave her hell at mealtimes, and she fretted that my brother would turn out the same way, but he turned out to be an angel. So much for her parenting experience!

So if you are planning a family or are expecting a child in your world soon, the first thing to prepare is – yourself. Ask yourself if you’re ready. Ask your self if you will be devoted to your child – love him, nurture him, ignore his tantrums and bad habits, yet guide him on the right track to life and be a friend, mother, father, family, guide, teacher, protector and cheerleader to him for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. When you answer yes to all of the above, you’ll know your preparation for parenthood is almost done. Now go ahead, have fun being a parent and yes, you may now buy that cute dinosaur onesie! 😉

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Source: Pinterest

Featured Image: OnlineMommyDiva at Pixabay

IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION

What does preparation mean, if we go just by the definition it simply means: “the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration”, but is it as simple as this definition – it’s much more than that.

Imagine how chaotic life would be without preparation for the day, be it home (cooking, cleaning, laundry), work (meetings, presentations, targets to be achieved for the day) or kids (getting their stuff done, packing their lunch box, preparing their meals, driving them for classes etc.).

Preparation however is not a skill that can be taught or given knowledge on. It comes with practice and experience. My dad is the most organized person I have seen, he would plan days in advance and do his preparations accordingly. An effective way of doing this is to note down all your plans and make a note of the preparations you need to do to achieve the same.

Preparation is not just a task, it can be helpful in more ways than one for the person:

  1. Self-discipline: when a person is prepared for things in his/her life, they drive their life towards achieving the goal, hence it becomes imperative that the person follows certain routine and hence in the process becomes more disciplined in life.
  2. Confidence: when a person is prepared well enough to achieve the goal they have set, it becomes easier to achieve the goal, and hence the more they achieve the results or their goals, the more confidence they gain in life and hence more self-respect as well.
  3. Maturity: The more a person is prepared, the more logistically their brain functions. They see life through different aspects and situations and hence prepare accordingly, hence they can handle the real life situations in a better way than the normal.

However, having said all of the above, it is also obvious that no person can always be prepared for all the situations in life. Human mind and emotions direct us internally to be prepared for the so called ‘happy path’, but destiny might have different plans for each of us. Hence, no matter how well prepared we are, we should always be ready to change directions and planning towards the instant challenges that life throws at us. So as they say-

“Plan for the best but be prepared for the worst”.

LACK OF PREPAREDNESS LEADS TO BROKENNESS

I was not scheduled today. I am not prepared at all. My mind is wandering around to find a thought. Finally, I thought of turning the pages of the Bible to get some inspiration and there one verse from the book of Proverbs caught my attention:

“Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.”

I thought for a moment and understood what it means. We can build a house only when we have everything ready. Suppose, you started building the house and suddenly you realise you missed something. And the delay for buying or preparing that material might have an adverse effect on the construction work.

Similarly, take the example of cooking a special dish. If everything is not available at the time of cooking then the dish might be not taste well or cooked well. Every ingredients were kept ready and made available by the woman of the house or the cook before s/he starts cooking. I have seen my wife requesting me to run to the market to get something that she forgot quickly while she is in the middle of the work. And if I am sick she herself runs to the grocery shop to get the ingredient she needs.

Remembered about ‘Marriage‘. And God gave me a thought to talk about it in the light of the above verse that we read.

A man or woman needs to be prepared physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually before they get into a marital bond. And if it is not done… If right amount of preparation is a lacking in any marriage then the couple struggle a lot to adjust with each other or break sooner or later. A marital home can not be built unless there’s a well prepared ground or field. A base or ground is always necessary. A base of physical, mental and emotional need between two uniquely designed persons make them to enter into a marriage covenant. Then all the characters and behavioural changes are made ready for the bond.

A love marriage without responsibility doesn’t last long. An arranged marriage without emotional union shatters. A forced marriage blows off. A marriage without commitment perishes. A marriage without love devastates.

A marriage without preparation breaks all the way along… dragging both the husband and wife on the way to destruction by killing their desires, their zeal, their passion and their dreams.

It’s not only in a marriage relationship but it is true about any other relationships as well.

Are you somewhere breaking away in any of your relationships or anything that you value a lot? Don’t worry. Do whatever you need to do. Prepare yourself well for everything you do and for don’t forget to put your trust in the Lord. Because…

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

I am learning and you learn it too…

Stay Blessed!

PREPARATION FOR ETERNITY

As a child, I used to wonder where people go when they die? When the body is placed in the coffin and the final nail is struck, and all seems to be over, what if the person inside opens his/her eyes again? Won’t the person feel suffocated and afraid of the darkness inside? What if s/he wants to come out? There would be no one to hear his/her cry for help from where s/he is buried deep down in the earth! Such thoughts often scared me.

A child’s mind is not developed enough to fathom the deeper truths of life. Nor can it rise up to the higher levels of cognitive functioning. Hence, my wondering continued to wonder. I was told that when people die, they go to God. But I wasn’t really able to gather this abstract reality much, as a child.

As the truths about life and death sunk deeper into me gradually, I realised how transient earthly life is! And how perpetual the future eternity is!

The concept of eternity still doesn’t mean much to many, especially because it is too abstract to imagine and understand. To explain in simple terms – ‘eternity is endlessness in time’ – no count of years or months or days or hours or minutes. And, eternity is what awaits the human spirit once the earthly stint gets over.

Life on earth is for a few decades at the maximum. Even the person with record-holding life span, ultimately dies. One wise writer writes thus ‘What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. True enough, generations have come and gone by all across the world. No one stays on forever.

So if the earthly life is temporary, and eternity is everlasting, don’t we need to prepare for it? If we decide to holiday out-of-station, how much in advance we prepare and wait with excited anticipation! This involves preparation for a few days or may be for a few months at the maximum. What then ought to be the magnitude of preparation for eternity!

Life on earth is a preparation for what is in store for eternity. Each day each moment of our lives on earth takes us one step closer to eternity. How carefully ought we to live our lives on earth, then!

How do we then, prepare for eternity?

To answer this, we must first be sure of what is in store for us in eternity.

Eternity comprises of eternal life and eternal death. Eternal life is life in the constant presence of God. How blissful! The thought itself excites the mind! And, eternal life (a life that never ends) is in store for all those who confess their sins while on earth, repent for them, seek forgiveness from God and strive to live a life for the glory of God. This is because, if we are to spend eternity with a Holy God, we need to be holy as well. Eternal death, on the other hand, is a total abandonment from the fellowship of God. Those who choose to continue with sinful lives without remorse, regret, repentance or seeking forgiveness from God, those who do not acknowledge the existence of God are banished to eternal death. This is because no one can thrive in the companionship of God without being cleansed from sin.

Eternal death is horrible. That is why, even for a joke’s sake or even for one’s most hated enemy, one never ought to say – ‘Go to hell!’ – which is often considered a casual statement when one is angry or is in a light mood.

Eternal life is what we all ought to strive for and encourage all around us to aspire for. None should be left behind from savouring the eternal bliss to which God invites each of His handmade human beings. The pains, tears, anxieties, sorrows and sickness of this earth will be brought to nought when one enters eternal life. Words cannot do justice to describe what eternal life would be like. To explain the wonders of eternal life, the Bible says – “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

An eternal life of bliss invites us all. Are we prepared?

ARE WE ACTUALLY READY?

As we all know and so it is actually true that any great accolade demands immense strenuous preparation. What is to be reflected is the fact that preparation is not just about physical toil and labor but complete whole hearted mental indulgence in the task is equally important. Hence, it is very well said that we need to commit to the battle before it begins!

Even the smallest of the task to be accomplished requires some amount of speculation. Thus we need to have the clarity of our purpose and a reason for its accomplishment otherwise all our hard efforts will be haphazardly directionless that will bear no fruits in the end.

Each one of us wants to achieve great heights and so some of the questions need to pondered and they are :-

i) Are we ready to put in the required level of hard work and give our best?

ii) Are we ready to make the needed sacrifices that includes giving up all the pleasures for a while?

iii) Do we promise ourselves to be patient in this journey that we undertake and not give up irrespective of how much time it takes ?

iv) Are we prepared to face or suffer the little step downs or failures along the journey ?
Well all the questions above are not only for any great target to be achieved but also for any little achievement , they need to be pondered. Only the level and degree of hard work and sacrifices vary according to the goals.

All great people may not reveal their success mantra but one thing is common and that is that they all have a well defined plan of action and they stick to it!

I feel physical preparation is completely dependent on our mental preparation. The mind needs to be energized and strengthened with power before commencing any physical task. For example, it can be seen that during the times, our mind is in turbulence, our efficiency also reduces and we are not able to give in the planned input. Hence all I want to emphasize is that we need to be mentally strong and determined as we undertake any Hercules task.

Building an equanimous state of working mind and focusing all our mental energies towards the goal which is unaffected by the setbacks is called mental preparation. It is not easy to do so but also not impossible. Powerful positive affirmations , daily visualization of the goal and falling in love with the journey are some of the ways to be learnt that makes mental preparation smooth! It is also true that “The possession of anything great begins in the mind.”

So I would suggest each one of us to start preparing our mind first for any upcoming war to make the struggle easy. As it is very well said  “The more we sweat in training , the less we bleed in battle.’’

BY FAILING TO PREPARE YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” – These are the words of Benjamin Franklin which ring true for people of all walks of life. Whether you are a sports person or an actor or a mother or a lawyer or a teacher preparation is a must for all.

Taking the time to prepare and plan is an essential part of being able to execute your aims. I’ve become more and more convinced that mindfulness and planning are keys to happiness.

It is very evident in the case of a sportsman. For him winning a game or match is not only because of the performance he gave on the field that day. But it’s actually the culmination of the preparation he did for days, months or years. He has to practice his game, prepare his body in terms of nutrition, strength and endurance to win in the actual game.

I would like to share a poem I found on the net about importance of practice and preparation in a sports person’s life.

Practice like you’ve never won,
In everything you do;
Success isn’t made overnight,
Let it be well done by you.

Perform like you’ve never lost,
Do all the best that you can;
No need for wasting time,
Show that you are the man.

Practice like you’ve never won,
Losing shall pull you down;
Exert extra effort to prevail,
Becoming a talk of the town.

Perform like you’ve never lost,
Don’t be scared to make mistake;
Learn lessons from failures
To taste the icing on the cake.

Discipline is all you need,
Days of negligence are gone;
Triumph tomorrow shall shine,
Practice like you’ve never won.

Bernard F. Asuncion

Another aspect of preparation is to be prepared to face any adversity or disaster in life. Plan ahead and don’t wait for the axe to almost fall before taking any action. Like the famous saying goes “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark”. He anticipated the approaching danger and started preparing for it. If he had started the work only after flooding had started then the whole mankind and animal kingdom would have been doomed. Preparing ahead is so important.

This kind of planning is a must in every routine work also.

  • Like it’s so much easier to face an exam in school or college if we have started studying or preparing for it many days in advance.
  • Early morning rush and routine is so much simpler and sorted if the menu of the school tiffin is already decided by the mother and preparation for the cooking is already done.
  • The office executive makes such a good impression in front of his boss if he has worked out all the facts and figures and the supporting documents for them. His preparation for the meetings goes a long way in helping him climb the corporate ladder.
  • If there is a cyclone warning in your area it makes life much easier if we are already prepared for power outages and got all the essential things stored with us.

This list is endless. Every single work we do needs some kind of planning, preparation and attention for details from our side. Otherwise it ends up being a sloppy work which no one appreciates.

Being a mother there is another kind of preparation that I have come across. Preparing someone emotionally to face the changes in their life. I think most mothers will relate to this. When the second child is about to come into this world the mother has to prepare the elder sibling emotionally to accept the new baby. Otherwise they end up considering the baby as their adversaries who are just hogging their mother’s attention and time.

Or when the child is going to join school for the first time the parents try to prepare the child for what to expect and also to be able to stay away from home for a few hours without a tearful meltdown. And I must say these preparations make the life so much easier for the toddlers their mothers and the teachers.

So in short I would just say “Fortune Favours the Prepared.” So be prepared.