One of the hardest things about participating in any kind of emotional recovery process is to continue to put oneself in positions where we are stretched beyond our comfort level. If you have kids, this opportunity (to be stretched beyond what we are comfortable with) will present itself daily. Effective parenting and personal growth go hand in hand. For those of us with children, let us count ourselves lucky, blessed, fortunate, and favored. We get to stare deep into our soul (and the souls of those we have been entrusted with) day after day and have the weighty task of doing and being all that is good for a soul’s health and flourishment. It is not easy, not one second of it. But with this holy duty is the reward of reaping what we have long ago sown—that of desiring a happy family and of desiring a happy home to raise that happy family in. We are here because we once dreamed of being here. And we are here because we dared to go in this direction—long before we had any idea what it really entailed. So I say to you—especially if you are shaking in your boots at the mere thought of getting real with yourself and your family—go in the direction of your deepest heart’s desires. Yes, we all want money and fame and recognition and freedom and space. But what good is that when we are no longer living? What will we have done for future generations? For our own line of descendants? Will we have made this world a better place (with or without children)? Will we have given of ourselves so that others (whether our own children or not) can know a better, warmer life? Will we have let down our defenses enough to be friends with those who might need real friendship? We all have a lot to give, and if we will allow ourselves to give even a little of what we hold in our heart, we will be taking steps (albeit baby steps) towards all that we really want for a truly fulfilled life.