I love my parents. They are some of the best parents around. Yes, I’m a little biased, but just ask my siblings. They’ll agree with me (I think anyways…) And now that I’m a parent, I realize just how hard it is. Especially to parent me. I was a difficult child to parent. The things that serve me well as an adult, I’m sure drove my parents (mom especially) crazy. Things like how independent, self-motivated and driven I am. All the things that I am now seeing in my own kids, especially Tiki. (Potty-training is not going how I planned…. but that’s another post)
The thing that is most amazing to me, is that my parents were able to foster those traits and help me grow into them and not try to squash them. They saw those strengths as being just that, strengths. My dad was very good at helping me figure out the best way to tackle a situation (whatever it was) without me realizing that he was telling me what to do. I usually thought it was my own idea….. (and I still like to think that.) My mom was good at keeping quiet and letting me figure out that what I was doing wasn’t working and then refrained from saying, “I told you so” (Although now she laughs, a lot, as I tell her my various trials with my boys.)
And they did this with all 4 of us… all while they homeschooled us. They were crazy. (Sorry guys, I love you, but it’s true.) Trying to keep up with all our various activities as well as making sure we had the education weneeded, modeling what a genuine Christian is (not a perfect one, a genuine one) and still taking the time to know each of us and play to our strengths.
Now before my parents get a big head over what I just said (because I know they’re reading this), I want to make sure this is clear: THEY WEREN’T PERFECT. They made some mistakes and did some things wrong, but they weren’t afraid to own up and fix it if they could. Something that I hope I am able to do as I make my own mistakes.
It’s nice to have such a great example to look at as I deal with situations with my own kids. I have something to go to and say how did my parents address this issue with me. This is especially helpful when dealing with my oldest, because although Elvis looks just like his dad, his personality, and temper, is just like mine. (Which is not fun when there is a disagreement….. jus’ sayin’).
But at the same time, as I look back over my childhood, I often wonder, “What on earth were they thinking?” Like letting a barely 16 year old go to college. And letting that same 16 year old work a full-time job while in college. Sometimes it’s not something they let me do, it’s something one of my siblings could do. Like letting my 14 year old sister have a boyfriend. (I still want to know why you let that happen….. They had to be driven everywhere!!! And I couldn’t (didn’t??) date until I was 16!!!!)
Other times I wonder, “what were they thinking?” as they watched my relationship grow with Jon. Did they think it was just a highschool fling? Or did they think it would last? As we stayed together after highschool, did they see what was coming and hope for the best? Did they believe in us like we did?
Whatever I wonder, this I know, they undertook the task of raising children seriously. They did it to the best of their ability and allowed God to do the rest. They quietly lived out their faith, and provided us with the knowledge, strength and principles we needed to live out our own lives. They have taught me more than they realize by simply living out their lives. I have gotten just as much knowledge from that as I have from what they said.
My biggest prayer, is that someday, my sons will look back and be able to have a similar example for them to follow.