I’m a tech team manager by day and a writer by night. But those are just the jobs that pay the bills, the titles I throw around when meeting people to provide some sort of explanation as to what I do with my time. My most important job, my highest and most holy calling, lies in my commission to raise the future.

How do you raise the future, you ask? Where do you even find it?

The future can be found nestled beside me on a stormy night, compelled to my bed by rolling thunder and a wild imagination. She can be found in my backyard on a sunny, clear day, meticulously drawing chalk hopscotch squares on the patio. The future can be found in my driveway, riding her tricycle and waving wildly to the man who lives across the street.

See, the future isn’t as far away as most people believe. It’s right within our grasps, within our homes. The trick is figuring out what to do with it.

Do you teach the future facts? Do you explain things like photosynthesis and long division and pray it makes the future smart enough to withstand political unrest and superviruses and global warming? It’s a noble goal, but it’s not enough.

RELATED: As Parents, We Really Do Teach Them Everything

Do you enroll the future in advanced programs at the earliest age possible? Do you pack her schedule with music and sports lessons, tutors, and clubs? It might mold the future into a champion, the best at what she does . . . maybe. But it’s still not enough.

See, the future is best raised at eye level. She learns sincerity and warmth and connection when you crouch down to explain the world in her terms. She witnesses humility and growth first-hand when you step down from your pedestal to share your experiences without sugar-coating your failures.

The future requires patience. No . . . she demands it.

She will fall off her bicycle 100 times, cutting her palms, tearing her leggings, crushing her hopes of ever succeeding. So raising the future requires helping her to her feet 101 times, from bicycle and treehouse falls and playground chases gone awry. It calls for empathy, direction, and encouragement, all while maintaining your composure because you know the future feeds off your reactions. They never said raising the future was easy.

The future will fail. Oh, will she fail.

She’ll lose games, fall short of goals, and allow comparison to steal her joy. She’ll lose friendships to no fault of her own, then struggle to make sense of it. The future will learn that sometimes the only answer is that life is hard. And what an unsatisfying answer to her most piercing questions.

RELATED: Your Kids Need to Have Grit. You Need to Teach Them How.

Raising the future requires navigating sticky, heart-wrenching emotions even when you’re not certain of the path yourself. The future can only learn resilience, strength, and courage if you’re willing to crawl through the trenches with her, to embrace her even when you’re tired, even when you’re not sure you have the strength to carry her.

Raising the future demands that you constantly push yourself beyond your own limits because you know the price of not doing so is far too much to pay.

The future is best raised independently. She’ll request your help in her sticky sweet voice, to do the thing you know she must learn for herself. But she can only learn self-sufficiency, independence, and a fierce inner strength when you challenge her to rise to the occasion and stick with your challenge.

Yes, I will be present, God willing, for a large portion of the near future. But I won’t be here for all of it; none of us can be.

RELATED: 20 Important Life Lessons Every Teen Must Learn

That’s why I’m giving my everything to raising the future. It’s why I wake up with her each morning, push myself to lead with intention each day, and work the night shift while she sleeps each night.

Because if we want the future to intimately know and embody resilience, strength, courage, vision, authenticity, patience, and sincere empathy for and connection with others, we have to plant the seeds today. Our future depends on it.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Deb Preston

Deb Preston is an author, editor, amateur gardener, and professional cheese lover. Originally from Iowa, she now lives just outside of San Antonio, Texas with her husband, daughter, and unnecessarily loud beagle. You can find her writing on her website (DebPreston.com), HerViewFromHome.com, or in any of her books. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading

God Chose Me to Be the Mother of a Wild One

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman holding child on the beach, black-and-white photo

It was just another typical fall morning. There was a time change so you were a little extra sleepy (also known as grouchy) but nothing too out of the ordinary. In a split second, that all changed, and the reality of what it is like to live with an unbelievably relentless little human set in like never before. I sat on your bedroom floor, laundry scattered all around, and literally watched my tears fall to the ground. I was on my knees. Physically on my knees just begging you to stop or begging God to give me patience. I don’t...

Keep Reading