Many people have taught me important life lessons – there’s a lot of them to learn and I’ve been open enough at times to let others impact me.
A few winters years ago my parents (mom) started feeding this big ginger cat that would hang out by the back of the house near the dryer vent. It had been hanging around the neighborhood for a few years and each year it seemed to be finding it tougher to get by. Being a male, there was no chance that they’d be letting it sleep inside unless it was fixed. And being an unfixed male, it was assisting in the making of kittens, adding to the cat problem. They talked to the humane society so the option of having them pick it up and deal with it was on the table. My parents dilemma was that a cat this old and independent wasn’t high on a adoptable list – the cat would have been up down. This may have struck them as unfair because the cat was effective at living and had earned the right to NOT be killed.
My folks made the decision to bring him to the vet and get him fixed. It cost around $125 and after a day of recovery, he ran away when my parents let him out of the cage after returning from the vet. “That seems like a total waste of money” I said when I chatted with my dad a couple of days later. He just shrugged and said “you do the best you can.”
About a week after its surgery there was a particularly cold spell and the cat returned to sleep inside and get fed. It left in the spring and you’d see it occasionally until the winter returned. It didn’t have anymore kittens and had a better quality of life when the winter became too much of a challenge.
A few weeks ago I was talking with Tony about raising children. He has two kids, I have none. There are challenges to parenting that I don’t realize so my understanding of the process is almost completely theoretical. I had a few curiosities about some of his approaches and when I asked him about them it was clear that there’s a lot of room to wiggle when it comes to following the path of best parenting approaches. Realistically, you have to do the best you can, that you can live with.
There are consequences to buying a child’s compliance through rewards but there are times when you simply need them to be quiet, focused, excited, etc…. but if you can manage those consequences and deal with whatever is thrown at you, you are going to be able to live with your decision.
Life has many twists and turns, challenge enough without the baggage of regret. Doing the best you can is an effective way to eliminate regret from your future. But when life gets in the way and you need to balance some of your wants with some of your needs, you do the best you can, that you can live with.