The Good Parent

Parents can find themselves saying some pretty stupid things as they go about the ceaseless job of parenting. For instance, you might have bought a new couch. Perhaps this is the most expensive piece of living room furniture you have ever owned. When you saw it in the showroom, you imagined the feelings of luxury and comfort into which you would sink every time you sat upon or beheld that beautiful new couch. The couch becomes symbol of the kind of lovely life you plan to lead henceforth.

And then you introduce your young children to this couch, and lo! They do not share your sense of wonder for the new furniture. For them, it is simply a different shaped, different colored couch, and if memory serves, they were allowed to jump and down on and even eat desert while sitting on the other couch. And so, the first time you peel a Gummy Bear off the cushion, you hear yourself asking the meaningless question, “Can’t we own anything nice in this house?”

This is what comes of trying to coerce other people into feeling the same way about something that you do. You can create laws and consequences ten yards long to try to replicate in another’s behavior your own love and respect for something, but no command will ever replace true desire.

This is why you must be the first and most fervent advocate of your work. If things go well, you will find the agent and editor who love and believe in what you have written, but no matter how large the congregation appears to grow, you remain a church of one.  You are the owner of a business, and the agent, editor, copy editor, distributor, and bookseller are but contractors.

No one’s enthusiasm for what you have made ever can or should match your own. Readers and publishers will hopefully love it in their own way, but you alone will have to hold to your belief through rejection and delays and fired editors. It is with some relief then that you hand the stewardship of this story’s journey over to the hearts of the reading world. They will love it or not, but they will never have the chance unless you hold it first with your full, unwavering, unconditional devotion.

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