Before we had children, I can remember looking at parents and wondering why it wasn’t as obvious to them as it was to me how they should deal with their children. Then we became parents, and everything that looked very black and white before, now all became gray area! What a shock! So, I sympathize with the childless people who are an eternal fountain of advice to, or just critical of, parents — THEY JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND! Hubby’s favorite saving fits here, “Nothing is impossible if you don’t have to do it yourself!”
There is a family therapist who writes a column about raising children that is published in our local newspaper. One of the things he wrote a few years ago especially struck me as a revelation that I wish someone had convinced me of when I was raising children — “If your children don’t hate you sometimes while you are raising them, then you probably aren’t doing your job.” I didn’t like for my children to be unhappy. That gives any child a really powerful bargaining position, because, of course, they KNOW you feel that way, because they can read you like a book!
There were a couple of things I did do that I feel were noteworthy. First, I would sometimes remind our kids that I was a parent for the first time, just like they were kids for the first time. It sort of translated to, “We’re all in this together.”
And, a prayer I said MANY times during those years was, “Dear Lord, Please deminish the things I’m doing wrong and magnify the things I’m doing right — because I haven’t got a clue which is which!”
I have always said that my children LOVE me — but they ADORE their Dad. And I believe that is because he was the disciplinarian, and that, even though they would never have let it SHOW at the TIME, they felt loved the most by the parent who was strong and didn’t let them get away with things, they shouldn’t get away with.
I am thankful that, even with what I perceive as things we could have done better, God has blessed us with children who turned out to be good, decent (and, I love this, FUNNY) human beings.
May God grant all of you who are busy raising families, wisdom, patience and lots of love for your children. I believe this is the most important job you will ever have.