Friday, April 22, 2011

Parent and Guardian

I remember reading a permission slip on my walk home from school.  It was for a field trip, and at the bottom, it said "Signature of Parent or Guardian."  I knew what parent meant, obviously, and I contemplated the word Guardian with a mind filled with Narnia and Middle Earth.

My brain came up with something like this:

And I thought, that kid with a Guardian is so lucky!

I promptly told my mom that I wanted a Guardian.  She explained what the word actually meant, that some children don't have parents and a guardian is someone who takes care of them if their parents can't.  I decided I didn't want a guardian after all.

noun /ˈgärdēən/ 
guardians, plural
  1. A defender, protector, or keeper
  2. A person who looks after and is legally responsible for someone who is unable to manage their own affairs, esp. an incompetent or disabled person or a child whose parents have died

  3. The superior of a Franciscan convent

Now, as a parent, I'll get to sign that "parent or guardian" line.  I'm going to cross out the "or" and replace it with "and."

A guardian is a defender, protector and keeper.  Not owner, not king.  A guardian holds the gate, standing between their charge and the evils of the world.   "You shall not pass", he cries to the beast of flame, not while he can stop you.  His mere presence implies that what he guards is valuable and precious, worthy of protection.  His sword is never directed toward his charge, but outward.

I am my son's parent and guardian.  I am not his owner or his master.  It is my solemn duty to protect him from harm, no matter the cost.  He is precious and fragile, and the world is not always kind or safe.  I may not have a sword (well, ok, Dave has a cool Claymore for Highland festivals...) but I would still give my life to keep him safe.  It's not my job to "make him into a man" - that will happen on its own.  I am powerful, but I do not need to wield power against him.  I won't even let the little dragons in (well, maybe the nice dragons).

Are you also your child's guardian?  What does that mean to you?


  1. Beautiful!!! Thank you so much for this. Sharing on FB. :)

  2. I signed my first permission slip a few months ago when my son's school was going on a field trip to a pumpkin patch. The parent/guardian thing crossed my mind. I am both and I always will be. That is the commitment I made when I gave birth to him.

    I love the idea of crossing out the "or" and replacing it with "and!" Mind if I steal it?

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  4. Good and another post from you admin :)

  5. Loved this post! Exactly how I feel about my children!

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