Parenting is much different now than when we were raising our children. And, even when Hubby and I were doing that, we certainly weren’t experts, so I definitely can’t claim to be an authority on the way you should parent today. But, there is a life lesson I learned when I was a young married, before having children, that I hope might be of value to those of you still raising yours.
When we were first married, I worked downtown for a large insurance company. And, in a rare show of frugality for my 19 year old self, I carpooled to work.
Mary Lou was a small, slim single mom of two pre-teen boys who appreciated getting a rider to help pay for her gas. It was a perfect arrangement because I was right on her way to work. So, for the next couple years Mary Lou and I had the rides to and from work to learn about each other and share our lives.
And by the time my rides with Mary Lou ended (I was expecting Gunny and quitting my job) I felt I had learned one very important parenting lesson: Get your child’s respect before they get bigger than you!
Mary Lou’s ex-husband wasn’t very involved in her boys’ lives, so she was mostly on her own. And even to my young eyes, I could see that she pretty much parented by spoiling them.
When I started riding with Mary Lou, her spoiled boys were just mildly irritating to her. And, when they really got out of hand, she would just physically make them do what she had told them to do.
The problem is, that I could see a change in how her way of doing things was working as the boys got bigger. By the time I quit riding with Mary Lou, the boys were both bigger than her, and by that time they were telling her what they would and wouldn’t do! And, because they were then bigger and stronger than her, she didn’t have a way of making them do anything!
I didn’t keep in touch with Mary Lou, so I don’t know how the rest of her child raising years went, but I’m guessing it wasn’t fun to be mom to those two boys through their high school years. But, I’m also hoping that they turned out fine once they got out on their own and the world taught them some of the lessons and boundaries their mom didn’t.
When you teach your children the lessons they need to learn, like respect, you do it with love. The world isn’t nearly as “loving” when it teaches your children the lessons you didn’t teach them!
May God give you patience, wisdom and perseverance in your parenting. I believe it is the hardest, but most important job, we will ever do.