As a kid, I had this notion that for me, parenting would one day be an easy thing. I pictured hot breakfasts every morning, clean laundry, and adoring cherubs who never had to help wash the dishes. Not the world I grew up in with its havoc and mayhem. I didn’t understand my parents struggle to raise four kids. With so many to practice on, why weren’t my parents pros? Then I grew up, married, and had kids of my own.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. With each child, I found the challenge greater, not easier. With time, I did begin to gain some knowledge and wisdom, but I’m still adding to those particular banks. I wish I could have known the things I know now. I wish I’d written lists of lessons learned rather than lists of chores and goals during those learning years. I can’t say the list I’ve added to this post is complete or set in stone or even that it’s always rock solid. It is instead, a list of principles, my determination to raise kids who will hopefully be better than me, do better than me, and one day, raise my grandkids to do the same. So, here we are, the next list, in no particular order, of things I want my kids to know that I said.
- Being a parent is the hardest job in the world.
- Take off your mask. Don’t be afraid to be real.
- Share your life. You have so much to give.
- Wake up every day with a renewed determination to do better than the day before.
- You don’t know what tomorrow holds, but yes, it could hold all the answers. You’ll want to wake up and find out.
- Spend plenty of time having fun. Work will always be there.
- Do the unexpected thing.
- Forgive. Grudges are for the weak.
- Say you’re sorry first.
- Compliment your spouse everyday. They need your affirmation.
- Dreams are worth having. Dream big.
- Take a vacation or a day off often. You need restoration.
- Love your loved ones with all your heart. Why hold back?
- Be faithful. Be trustworthy. Have integrity. Earn respect.
- Be honorable.
- Don’t manipulate. You’re better than that.
- Don’t be afraid of hard things. Good things come from hard things.
- Don’t be afraid to look at sufferIng and let yourself feel with raw emotion.
- Have deep conversations. Fluff talk dissipates.
- Finish strong.
I wish I could say I have this parenting thing all figured out. Perfection. But I don’t. That doesn’t stop me from trying.
There are more lists to come, but they’ll have to wait for now.
Until next time.