Dr. Miranda's Advice to Parents : 1 Life long Commitment + 1000 Interventions = 1 Healthy Child

Dr. Roberto Miranda
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SUMMARY: Being a parent is a full-time commitment that requires a lot of time and effort, especially in the early years when a child's personality and sensibility is being formed. Parents need to be a constant presence in their children's lives, spending time with them, playing with them, and interpreting the world for them. It's like discipling, where parents are in charge of the formation of their child and continually infusing them with the teachings they want them to receive. Every interaction with a child is an opportunity to add little seeds to their formation, and parents must see their role as a calling from God that requires utter seriousness.

My advice to parents who have young children is the following: being a parent is a full time, labor intensive commitment. It is not something that can be done cheaply, on the run, whenever we have time. It is a mission that defines our life, that governs the way we live and the way we spend our time and order our priorities. Being a parent is a gift from God and has to be taken with utter seriousness.

That means that we have to invest a lot of time on our children. Those early years in particular, when the personality is being formed, when the sensibility is being established and affirmed. It’s like the foundation of the house and we know that if the foundation is not leveled, and if the foundation is not square, later on when you try to put walls there will be all kind of angles that are going to make it so much more difficult to do the rest of the building. So that foundation has to be perfectly established and that will determine the solidity of the rest of the house.

So I think, for our children it’s so important that the parents understand this, and that particularly in those first few years, our children see their parents as a constant presence in their lives, totally committed to them and to their well-being, spending time, it’s a ‘discipling’ kind of activity where you are in charge of the formation of this mysterious being and you have to let them see you and know you, and get to trust you, and you have to be continually infusing in them the teaching that you want them to receive. So you have to take time to go out with them, to play with them, to sit down with them as they watch TV and interpret for them what they’re seeing, to ask them questions, to get them out of their shell because many times adolescent and youth tend to be very much into themselves and simply don’t know how to reach out.

It is a full time commitment, I find that parents who choose to spend time with their children and to show them that they’re important and to be there, ‘discipling’ them. What do I mean by ‘discipling’? I mean as we see Jesus that He was always walking with the disciples, sharing experiences with them and interpreting those experiences for them, asking them questions and sharing His view of the world and of life, and of God continually with them. That’s the way parents have to be. It’s a full time job, you never lay down your responsibility. You’re taking advantage of every opportunity that you can to impart something and every experience that you share is a potential opportunity to interpret something for your child, to add little seeds.

I believe that the person that you produce, we can use that image for the moment, will be a result of thousands and thousands of individual interventions that you will carry out over the course of many weeks, many months, many years, and each one of those interventions will be like one little minuscule grain that you will add to the formation of an edifice. So we need to see every piece of advice that we give, every time you confront our child, every time we give unsolicited counsel, every time we go out with them and spend an hour or half an hour, all of these are little grains that we are adding to the formation of that building that we want to see formed. So we must arm ourselves as we go into parenthood, as we live our parenthood with that idea, that it’s a full time commitment, it is a calling from God and I’ve been given the privilege and the responsibility of forming this individual and therefore I have to accept it as something of utter seriousness.

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