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A Daily Parenting Advice Podcast. Non-Pretentious. In less than 3min a day!

S5-Ep170 - If

June 15, 2019

 I want to break away from the “personality psychologists” talk that I started with 5 days ago. And a great way to do that is with poetry. It doesn’t get much different than psychology than that.

But before we do, I want to thank everyone out there for listening to us, for adding us to your day. It means a lot. And I hope we’re helping.

 So what can a poem teach us about parenting?

  To be honest, I’m not 100% sure if it can. But this poem has stuck with me for a long time and just as parts of it guide me, I think they can help guide you to. Give you some seeds to plant in your brain.

Now, no one I know is a “poet person”, but I still feel like they’d lambast me for such a popular poem if they were next to me. But I don’t care, it meant something to me in my formative years.

The poem is Rudyard Kipling's If:

I’m not going to read the whole thing.

But here are excerpts and what they mean to me:


If you can keep your head when all about you  

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, 

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;  

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;  

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;  

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


This, to me is the great goal of man. To be one thing, but also it’s opposite.

To be able to time your response or tailor it to the situation.
When he says “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;  “

This makes me feel like I’m preparing for something big. And I have reason to believe that there will be big moments through my life. Some good, a lot bad. The death of loved ones, or the achievement of a promotion. It’s best to be even keel through it all. 

   Here there are no lessons on raising children other than being the best version of you, that you can be. And which is more – you’ll raise a man like you, my son.