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Why No One Ever Asks You for Parenting Advice – Reality Check
Posted By Kris Wolfe On Sunday, November 24, 2013 @ 8:00 am In Spirituality | No Comments
Clarksville, TN – My friend called me for parenting advice the other day. I was in shock. She said, “I had to call you; you’re the only one who’d understand.” Ooh, I thought, this should be good. She continues, “Charlie (not his real name) got in trouble for fighting today and I don’t know if I should punish him.”
She goes on to describe her dilemma. She wants to teach him right from wrong. She wants him to be a good person. She also doesn’t want to punish him unfairly if he was the one being bullied (which her son claims.) She wants to be a good mom. She is a good mom. But good parenting isn’t always clear-cut.Before I had children, I had illusions, rather delusions of how I would parent and how perfect my children would be. I also have romanticized my personal awesomeness as a child.
I haven’t asked my parents point-blank if I was a turd. I actually don’t want to know the answer. I suspect I won’t like it. As a mom, things were smooth as silk.
Then, shortly after my first son’s 20th month on Earth, I came to this conclusion: I don’t know what I am doing. This kid is smarter than me.
I read a ton of books. I listened to parenting lessons on CD. I tried a myriad of tips. But all in all, I have never felt like a rock star parent. I don’t think I am bad, but parenting advice, in my opinion should only come from parents with these kids: kids who make the honor roll, who keep their shoes where they belong, who don’t bite/hit/curse, who like writing thank you notes, who always want to go to church, who excel at sports, who like wearing clothes with buttons and collars, who say yes ma’am and yes sir to grown up’s instead of staring at them like they just swallowed a skunk. I don’t have those kids.
My kids are very, very different from each other, so I can’t lump them together. I have one who doesn’t like to pray aloud, who is very rude at times, who fails tests, who is mean to his brother pretty regularly, and who eats chips in his bed. My other son is easily distracted, can cry because he dropped a penny, always argues about brushing his teeth and was once called “one of two worse kids in his entire grade” by the teaching staff (not to my face of course which is why I am writing this to you outside of jail walls.)
That said, you can see why people aren’t like, “Hey Kris, you should totally write a book about parenting.” I would assume that the apocalypse is near or that they had been eaten by an alien.
Having said that, I know I do some things right as a mom. And when my kids turn out to be something out-of-this-world special, and mark my words they will, here are the few things I will look back on and think, “Thank God I was committed to that.”
One thing I have learned: parents teach what they value. I like a clean room, but I don’t demand it daily. I like good grades and love a good education, but I have to know when I have done all I can to motivate my children.
I love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and body, but I don’t force my older son to go to middle school worship on Wednesdays (although I want him to want it so badly) because I don’t want him run from church on the first Sunday of his 18th year and never look back.
But some things are non-negotiable in our home: Faith, respect, and love.
With all of our imperfections, struggles and “potential areas of growth” as a family I can tell you this: our boys are going to be okay. “Okay” might sound like I am settling. Trust me, I am not; I need not. I trust that God has a plan for our boys and the men they will become. I will not cease in loving them. I will love God obviously and sincerely with my words and actions (not because I am perfect but because I am redeemed). I will pray for them daily. I will model respect and show them the godliest marriage I possibly can.
And in the days to come, I will reflect on their generously God-given attributes of humor, energy, passion, junior entrepreneurship, love of Christ, awkward dancing, addiction to chocolate, obsession with the year 9045, love of Mindcraft and LeBron tennis shoes. I will love them for the people they are right now.
I can’t tell you how to raise your kids so don’t ask. But I am going to raise mine with the instinct that God gave me. It’s all I’ve got, and it’s taken us this far.
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