Why parents are important.

I write tonight with tight lungs and tired eyes.

I am a month into the four and a week that make up the fall semester. Part of it is my second counseling practicum. For that, I work at a residential facility for minors who are ordered to be there by a judge, for instance, or are in foster care but between placements, or have run away from home or have been kicked out by their parents.
Despite my flaring asthma and the go-go-going from which there is rarely a break, I like this. 
I like this a lot.
This work requires creativity. It tries your patience, and (hopefully) refines it. It widens your comfort zone and your perspective.
Some days you laugh. Other days you lock yourself in your office. Other days, you shoot hoops like an 11-year-old, with an 11-year-old, during a counseling session.
Every day you’re grateful.
Grateful for home, and good parents.
Every day you’re challenged.
Challenged to listen to young people who’ve mostly never been heard. To stay calm during crises. To model the behaviors and coping skills the center hopes kids will learn before they leave.
You realize why parents are important.
Why good parenting is important.
Why what I do now – while I’m single and have no kids – is as important as what I’ll do when I’m married with children.

Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.
If we want to teach our chilldren to dare greatly in this ‘never enough’ culture, the question isn’t so much ‘Are you parenting the right way?’ as it is: ‘Are you the adult that you want your child to grow up to be?’ -Brene Brown, from her book Daring Greatly