As I sit down to write today I am surrounded by an eery silence. The five younger kids have started back to school and our oldest is off at the lake, so I sit…alone with the sounds of the house. The silence is almost deafening. I need laughter and chaos, they have become my norm. I love to see them hugging and cuddling and hear them laughing together. I love the conversations at supper listening to all the new adventures they had during their day and what wonders they discovered. Unfortunately…I have to let them go in order to enjoy this. 😉
What a whirlwind of emotions that are involved with parenting. You just never really know what the next moment will bring. On most days I find myself enjoying tears of laughter and pride, moments of disappointment or anger, frustration, elation, paralyzing fear of the unknown (I tease the kids that if it were up to me they would be wrapped in bubble wrap and put into steel cages to keep them safe, but sadly…this isn’t an option) and then there is utter joy.
Today I dropped the two youngest boys off at their elementary school. This is our 17th year in the building and it is really more of a second home than anything. The familiar faces we see in the halls, the teachers and staff that have known each of them since they were born. It somehow makes it easier to let them go when I know there are plenty of arms to hug them if they need a hug and that they love them enough to expect the very best from them. That’s a challenging part of parenting isn’t it? Loving them enough to expect the very best from them?!?
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and reject not your mother’s teaching; A graceful garland will they be for your head and a pendant for your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9
I sat down at the table this morning to fill out the mounds of paperwork that the beginning of each school year brings and I found myself filling out a “Getting to know your child” survey from one of their teachers. It had the usual questions, but what I kept thinking of as I progressed through my day was the two questions; “What are your child’s strengths?” and “In what area(s) would you like to see your child improve?” I thought to myself, shouldn’t I expect the same from myself? I have strengths and weaknesses, shouldn’t I be as willing to be the best I can be if I expect it of them?
showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized, so that the opponent will be put to shame without anything bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8
My kids are pretty awesome, not perfect, but pretty terrific! I tell them frequently just how awesome they are, but I also hold them accountable for the areas they struggle with. I love them enough to want them to be the best they can be. Being a parent in many ways is like growing up all over. This time, instead of having parents telling you what you can and can’t do, you have children watching your every little move, learning from your successes and mistakes. The little choices we make throughout the day no longer only effect us, but an entire family and the people we are raising are going to go out into the world and have an effect on it for generations to come. Learning to become better versions of ourselves is a crucial part of raising phenomenal kids!
Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:3
It’s remarkably empowering to know that how you raise these little people can make a positive difference for generations to come. We never know where our encouragement or praise or redirection is going to lead them as an adult. I am grateful for this opportunity to have a front row seat at the greatest show on earth! Knowing these kids and the friends they have brought into our lives is inspiring and exhilarating. I am forever a better person for having been blessed with this duty. I am thankful for the lessons parenthood has taught me and all the tears and laughter it brings to our home.
So, as I embark on yet another school year…I am reminded that we are ALL a work-in-progress and that in order to raise kids that are going to make the world better tomorrow, I have got to be a better me today!