Last week I stopped and talked to a man painting the walls in the Chemistry building, Ed. I asked what he was working on and he told me about the miniature renovations they were doing - fixing up some of the wear and tear around the building. I saw Ed again today, and we talked for nearly half an hour about life, kids, work, family, all sorts of things. It was really great. Ed has two kids, a boy and a girl, has been with his wife for 13 years, married for 7, and (although he didn't say this, I can tell) he is a wonderful dad. His eyes just lit up talking about his kids, and how nervous he is about his oldest starting kindergarten.
I think it's good for every child to hear a parent (not their own) talk about his or her kids, and also for every parent to hear a child (not their own), talk about his or her parents. It puts everything into perspective. It helps you to realize that everyone makes mistakes, but that, in general, everyone wants to be a good parent. Everyone thinks the world of their children, and no matter how much you think you might mess up, most kids turn out alright. Parents should also know that, after adolescence and angst, kids remember the good things our parents taught us. We hold on to fond memories, and hold them up as examples of the kind of parents we hope to be some day.