What Would I Have Done Differently as a Parent? Wrong Question
The blog topic assigned to me this month was: What would you do differently if you could raise your kids all over again?
I had to smile. I recently was asked this question on a parenting panel and my answer was that I would’ve gotten up earlier and happier. Not that I was grouchy in the mornings, I just didn’t like talking all that much. Fortunately, my husband was a morning person so between my silent-getting-the-cereal-on-the-table-automation and his ability to communicate at that hour – the kids did get out the door for school.
The thing is – we do what we want to do. Midway through my kids’ college years, I started working here at Awana headquarters. The problem was I lived in Wisconsin and Awana is in Illinois – which meant I had a 70-mile one-way commute. Let’s just say I had to leave VERY early to get here on time. (This was before working at home was an option.)
I knew a 6 a.m. drive on a busy four-lane highway required alertness. I needed to be awake. So, I started going to bed earlier to get a good eight hours sleep. Within a few months, I had trained myself to be a morning person – something I could’ve done back when the kids were in their early elementary years.
But otherwise? Well, sure there are things I could’ve done differently. Hindsight is better than foresight even in kid-raising. The reality is we don’t get to have do-overs in life. We can sit and feel sorry for ourselves and think of all the “what-ifs.” Or we can look at our life in the present and decide to make this very day worthwhile.
We will always be parents. We never get tired of hearing our parents tell us how proud they are of our accomplishments or how much they love us. So our kids will always appreciate us letting them know how much we care.
No matter how old our kids are, we can be encouraging to them. We can pray for them. We can listen when they want to talk with us. We can tell them “thanks” for being who they are. And we can be supportive of our grandchildren. Sometimes this might mean being the ONLY spiritual influence in our grandchildren’s lives. At other times, this is backing up what they are hearing from their parents (our kids).
Parenting is tough, and we don’t get to practice, but we do get a handbook – God’s Word, the Bible. We need to give our kids our time, our love and raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Sure, we can look back, but how much better to look at today. What can we do today that will encourage our kids?
- Remind them of a favorite verse?
- Tell them that we love them?
- Encourage them in some endeavor they’re undertaking, like a new job, class or hobby?
- Write them a quick note or e-mail saying “thanks” for being my child?
The challenge is NOT to look back several years and think about what we could’ve done differently. The challenge is to be the best possible parent today so we won’t look back tomorrow and see a missed opportunity.
What can you do today that will encourage your kids?
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 at 3:55 am and is filed under Parenting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.