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What Our Children Teach Us
Piero Ferrucci. New York: Warner Books, 2001

During our career as parents we may be sentenced to slavery and condemned to a life of neurosis. On the other hand, we may embark on a voyage full of insights and joys. What makes us take the better road?

Two factors. First, the willingness to learn. We are used to thinking in terms of what we can teach our children. Maybe we need to ask ourselves what we may learn from them. After all, are they not the new arrivals, who come to us with a freshness and originality that we have perhaps lost? Aren't we the ones who go to school?

The second saving factor is the realization that the job of a parent, however mundane it may seem, has immense meaning. Look at some other trades: Engineers work with cement and metal; doctors with cells and organs; artists with lines and colors, sounds and images; cooks with food. Parents create life - or at least collaborate in its creation. Their prime material is human beings, whom they generate, nourish, support, and help to realize their innate potential. Could this be the highest of all arts?

This book is the fruit of one's person learning: My own experiences have been my field of study. As a psychologist used to working with inner experience, I have found it easy to note what goes on in me as I carry out the task of parenthood.

Although I am speaking only of myself, I believe that what I say applies to other parents, indeed to all who have anything to do with children. Every individual experience, although unique, contains elements belonging to all human beings.