In a recent parenting seminar I attended at my children's school which featured the topic "Bringing Out the Best in Your Child", the parents were asked by the speaker a point-blank question that remained in my mind even while I was driving home. The question was: "If you were a child, would you be happy to have a parent like yourself?" The question is particularly jarring because it forced me to look at myself in my eyes as a child.
What makes the question more difficult to answer is the association of happiness in having a particular kind of parent. It would have been much easier to answer if I were asked if I could accept a specific kind of parenting style or if I would love my parents in spite of shortcomings. But the question was "if I would be happy to have someone like myself as a parent".
Like most parents in this world, I am not perfect. I could probably think of a good number of mistakes that I have committed in the name of parenting. After reflecting on the question, I can candidly say that I wouldn't be happy with these mistakes if these were done by my parents to me. This made me realize that the intention, no matter how "parentally" noble should always be tempered by love, understanding, reason, and forgiveness.
Parent-child relationships do not get terminated because they do not get along. The greatest complement that our children can give us is when they say" "When I grow up, I want to be like you. I will raise my children like you did with me." These words will tell you that you have done right. You will have been part of the happiness in your child's life.
That said, from now on , I will try to put myself in my child's place especially when there are big decisions to be made. More than just wanting to grant my children's' happiness, it would be more of not being the cause of their pain. Next time, I may have a better answer to the question: Would you be happy to have a parent like yourself?