Childrearing. Do they call it that because of how often the tending to rear ends is involved?

No matter—that’s neither rear no there. Whilst childrearing, I often find myself wondering what the little tikes will be like as they grow up.

I think about how future days when my little two year old girl will learn to ride a bike, go to school, get married, and even start her own family (presumably she will no longer be a two year old at that point). I consider what sort of games my half-a-year old son will like to play, what his hobbies might be, and how many messes he will make for us to clean up (many in the nearer future, I’m sure).

There are plenty of opportunities for foresight in life, but I find them most often when I’m around my own kids. Oddly, when it comes to myself, I have an assumption things will stay just about the same. This can’t possibly be true, of course, but I have it anyhow.

Fact is, we’re always changing, one way or another, whether we welcome it or not. The good thing about foresight is it helps us prepare for change, even direct it.

Creatively speaking, this also holds true. The more we plan and prepare for our creative hobbies, goals, and careers, the more likely we are to reach our desired outcomes. Very few people (if any) are successful on accident.

Granted, there will always be a good measure of the unexpected—those twists and turns, maybe even a few ramps, cliffs and loop-the-loops. But unless you plan for some kind of destination and head in that general direction, you’ll never get there.

It’s impossible to prepare for everything, and crazy to even attempt it, but if we never anticipate the future, we’ll constantly be caught off-guard by it. 

I appreciate the advice I found in the childrearing book, Baby Wise

“Begin as you mean to go.”

When you visualize what the results will be and make the necessary preparations toward that end, it’s like gathering and prepping all the right ingredients and preheating the oven before cooking. Turns out, it’s a much better strategy than just throwing whatever you have on hand into a bowl, mixing it up, and hoping for the best. This is how I think some of the more day-to-day lifestyles can turn out, a big mess that fails to rise in the heat of the oven.

When it comes to being a parent, there is virtually no end to what I do not know. But I can still take the little I know and apply it with foresight. I can think about what sort of family I want to help build and what I need to do now in order to get there. 

Eventually, one Lego brick at a time, we’ll end up with a sweet castle that has its own moat and a working drawbridge, or at least an impressively tall tower that my kids will enjoy knocking over.

A.P. Lambert

A.P. Lambert is a creative professional who helps others live with creativity and purpose.