Friday, March 20, 2009

Lessons I've Learned in Parenting

Tonight we will be celebrating Meredith's 12th birthday. She is so excited and could hardly settle down to go to sleep last night. When I went to wake her this morning I saw a beautiful young woman lying there. Where has the time gone? 6 more years at home. It just doesn't seem possible. I am constantly taking evaluation of my "mothering" skills. I question myself quite often, just wondering if I have done enough, if I am doing enough...where I am messing up, where I am flourishing? Believe me, I have messed up a lot with my kids. For one, they have way too much stuff. But don't we all. One day I said to my mom, "kids are expensive." Her reply was, "you're expensive." Jab well taken and received. Still in the midst of it all, I have to smile inside because I know we have done many things right. We take the lead from some dear friends of ours, Tom and Robin Joseph. They have great kids. Ever so often I will take notice of exceptional kids. Then I start asking questions of the parents of those exceptional kids. That is when I get answers, real answers on how to raise great kids. Ask and you shall receive. The Joseph's, for years, had a little, tiny television set in their home office. It wasn't even located in the main family room. It was just not the center of their lives as it is to most of us. And, are you sitting down, they did not have cable. Many days we would pop in and the kids would be hovered around the TV watching the Andy Griffith Show. You have to love that. I love that they had the fortitude to do this. Did we follow this completely? NO. But we did follow it in part. Lesson 1 learned, it is up to us as parents to guard over the hearts and minds of our children. We don't ever watch something on TV that is not appropriate for our kids and then tell them.....Go play. It's like, leave us alone so we can watch our "inappropriateness." Most nights there is nothing good on. A few favorites at our house are...Discovery Chanel, 18 and Counting, Planet Earth, Treasure Quest, The Waltons. (We just finished season 2) We have learned to turn off the TV and spend time with our kids. And thus, we are protecting their little hearts and minds. Kids are exposed to so much today. Books, Movies, and Magazines are the worst. We don't need to add fuel to the fire by being too tired to tell them to turn off that trash and come sit and talk or play a game. It takes time, energy and creativity to make sure our kids are protected. Good parents can't afford to be lazy. They understand that parenting is just good old fashioned hard work. If you are saying, you know I really don't think what my kids watch or what I watch or read for that matter affects me or them in anyway. Rethink that, please. There are actually people who have said that to me. God's word says to guard over our hearts with all diligence and that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. What is in our hearts does matter. It matters greatly. Guard their hearts with fervor.
Lesson 2. Be consistent...even when it is inconvenient. Consistency is huge. Do what you say you will do? Be the example. If you want your kids to be kind, respectful, and loving to others. Then you first must be that and especially in the home. That is when our children see us for who we are. I hate it when I blow it on this one. And I have blown it many times. You know those times when you just can't take it anymore and things start coming out of your mouth that make you look and sound like a scary 3 headed monster. Will someone say I am with you girl? Oh the pain of those moments. I know we all have them. But you know what, I always, and I mean always go back to my girls and say, I'm sorry. Momma messed up big time and I want you to forgive me. How precious those moments are!! And even more when the tables are turned and they come to me and say, momma, will you please forgive me. That is always a victory in my house. Always!!
Yep, time sure is flying by. May I remember that this day is a gift. May I love and cherish the people God has given me. May I strive to better myself as a mother and may my children reap the benefits. This my friends is part of my journey today.

1 comment:

  1. Leslie Turner ForbauMarch 25, 2009 at 10:51 AM

    Gina, This same thing has really been on my heart and in my mind for a few weeks now. As my daughter gets older, it is becoming increasingly impossible to guard her heart for her. She is being put in the position to have to make her own choices outside of our home and I am trying (struggling!)to teach her the importance of guarding her heart and mind by being so careful about what she chooses to allow in. Sometimes I do feel like we are in a battle with what is popular and the all of the things her friends are watching, reading and listening to. I get tempted to be lazy and decide that just that once won't matter... Thank you so much for the encouragement this morning.