I took the opportunity yesterday to go watch the movie Delivery Man. It's about David Wozniak (played by Vince Vaughn), who through donations to a sperm bank, ends up with 500 something biological children. Part way through the film he decideds to try and find out about some of his offspring. After meeting a few, much to the chagrin of his laywer, David tells him "I think I'm supposed to be their guardian angel." He helps his kids, encourages them, believes in them all without revealing who he is.
Parenthood had already been on my mind for a few days and the movie hit the nail on the head confirming my feelings. Being a parent is about supporting, loving and believing in your children. The protecting portion is only a small part of the job because they quickly will outgrow their need for your protection (if you raise them properly). Some parents try to keep their children from experiencing pain and hardship but unless you live in a bubble your entire life, you will experience difficult things. In fact it's struggling and hardship that make us stronger people and that's where the parents come in - to build up when you are broken down.
Being a parent isn't about you, it's about what you give to your children. It's about allowing them to experience life by being there to cheer for, cry with, hold and believe in them. Anyone who wants something from their children is abusive and an asshole.