Parenting Matters: Thoughts From Vacation
Our family is together this week at the beach. It's my favorite week of the year! I love everything about time together with our crew: telling stories, laughing together, deep conversations, playing with grand-babies, making new memories, cooking for the family and cherishing every new moment.
Several years ago, after dropping Jonathan, our youngest child, off at college, Lora and I took a trip to the beach and spent a lot of our time reminiscing about our parenting journey. Lora is one of the best "question-askers" that I've ever known. So, in classic fashion, she had a question for many of our walks on the beach. Questions like these:
· What are some of your favorite memories as a parent?
· What do you wish you could have given the kids that you didn’t?
· What do you regret as a parent?
· Who was your favorite child? (Just kidding!)
· What were some of your life-learnings that came from being a parent?
It was that last question that really struck a chord with me. Parenting really did teach me life-lessons along the way. In many ways, I wish I would have known these things before I became a dad, or before I got married, or before my first job or even before going to college.
At the end of our week, I wrote a letter to our four children and shared with them some of our thoughts from that question about life-learnings through parenting. I find myself reflecting on these often and thought I’d share them with you wherever you are on your parenting journey.
1. Relax. Time has a way of making a lot of things okay.
2. Usually things that seem like big deals in real time aren’t that big of a deal.
3. Consistency may be the most important virtue in life and in parenting.
4. My agenda is not the most important thing.
5. Patience is so necessary. Quick reactions rarely grow connection.
6. Don’t over-react to situations.
7. Laugh more – especially at mistakes.
8. Listen more and ask questions more.
9. Trust that there is a bigger picture going on.
10. I’m far more resourceful than I realize.
11. Whatever comes, you can eventually figure it out.
12. God really does offer a better plan than mine.
13. My ability to forgive is greater than I ever realized.
14. Sometimes the best way to engage is to wait.
15. Sometimes the best way to engage is to engage.
I'll add one more that our oldest, Josh, would often say when he was growing up and found himself in trouble: "If you're going to laugh about it one day, why not laugh about it today." He was really prophetic. Some of the best moments of laughter we share together now are looking back at some of the days that seemed so hard in real time.
Parenting Matters. Enjoy the ride!