The Optimum Goal of Parenting: Benign Irrelevance

Optimum Goal of Parenting: Benign Irrelevance

We have just returned from visiting our daughter, Rya, and her family.

As we sat over dinner with Rya, her husband and their two teenagers, I sat quietly just let the conversation flow. I could feel the positive energy of the family and simply enjoy watching. I didn’t feel responsible for the conversation or the dinner or, for that matter, the way their family functions.

Our time for being responsible for our daughters has ended gradually over many years. And now we get to sit back and enjoy watching and quietly celebrating them for who they are.

The trajectory of our relationship with our daughters has shifted, as it should, from being fully responsible for their well-being when they were young, to encouraging and supporting their education and initiatives, to observing and appreciating them.

As parents, we have become irrelevant.

The Reward of Benign Irrelevance

Irrelevance feels like a rewarding outcome of the long trajectory of being parents.

Mind you, being irrelevant doesn’t mean that we don’t love one another. We absolutely do. It just means that they are fully in charge of their lives.

While we may have opinions about all sorts of things, and they may even ask our advice now and again, our opinions don’t matter much any more.

Our grown offspring no longer depend on us. And we don’t depend on them. And that’s a great relief.

Benign irrelevance allows us to simply enjoy one another in an uncomplicated way. I fervently hope that as the next years go by, we don’t have to turn the tables and become dependent on them.

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Consider: Do You Enjoy Benign Irrelevance?

Where are you on the trajectory of dependence to irrelevance to dependence? Stop and think about your relationship with your children or your parents. Are you dependent on them? Are they dependent on you? Or are you in the wonderful benign state of loving irrelevance?

Share your ideas in the comments below. Or, head on over to Facebook and share your ideas there.