I read this parenting advice from Tom Hanks last night and I keep thinking about it: 

“Somewhere along the line, I figured out, the only thing really, I think, eventually a parent can do is say I love you, there’s nothing you can do wrong, you cannot hurt my feelings, I hope you will forgive me on occasion, and what do you need me to do? You offer up that to them. I will do anything I can possibly do in order to keep you safe. That’s it. Offer that up and then just love them.”

Have you had a chance to read the new New York Times profile on Tom Hanks? It’s by Taffy Brodesser-Akner and it’s titled, “This Tom Hanks Story Will Help You Feel Less Bad.”It just came out as part of the publicity around the new Mr. Rogers movie, and I really enjoyed it (the profile, I mean — I haven’t seen the movie yet; I’m not sure it will make it to my little town here in France).

For those of you that are new parents, I’m guessing this advice might be too vague. Or at least I think it would have felt that way to me as a new parent. At that time, I was craving real tips and strategies for getting more sleep, getting out of the house without losing my patience, concrete steps on how to potty train, stuff like that.

But once your kids hit the teenage years or older, I feel like this advice would really hit home for lots of parents. It certainly did for me.

Thoughts? Do you relate to Tom Hank’s advice? Anything to add to it? Do you have a different favorite piece of parenting advice? I’d love to hear.

P.S. — Are you planning to see the Mr. Rogers movie? And do you have a favorite Tom Hanks film?


Image by Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times.