Saturday, August 3, 2013

Thoughts on Parenting: aka What I've Learned So Far...

This morning I had the privilege to get to share a devotion at a baby shower for a friend.  These were the thoughts I shared...

I get excited when my friends are expecting. 
What is this little one going to be like? 
What new adventures are in store for him or her?  And for mom and dad?

There’s all the normal things that people think about.  Getting the nursery ready.  Registering.  Labor.  Nursing.  Labor.  Packing your bag for the hospital and being ready.  Labor.  Just kidding… 

Then, the other day, I started thinking about the biggest things I’ve learned about parenting and from my children.  So, of course I started a list… Some of these overlap a little…

#1 When a child is born, it is one of the greatest reminders to me of how amazing God is.  The way a child is knit together from his or her parents is breathtaking.  Truly breathtaking.

#2 God matches us up uniquely.  You and Kyle are the parents your son will need and you need him.  Your personalities and who you are will help you understand your son in ways that others won’t. 

#3  Savor and try and remember.  Push the pause button often.    Jenny has often advised me to “simplify”.  She knows I’m apt to go go go.  It’s good advice.

My son, Eli, likes to play a game sometimes called “Lamppost Truck.”  Basically, every time he passes a lamp post, he says “Lamppost truck!”.  Such Silliness!

#4  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  (I take myself way too seriously.)

#5  There’s no guarantee or “right way” to parent.  There’s no mathematical formula: x + y = z  Parenting is about love and grace.  No one has the “right” answers.  Renee told me this one.  I agree with her.

#6  Hang on! Sleep will come, tears will pass, and God will give you strength even when you don’t want it.  Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

#7  Unconditionally love this little one—tell them you love them a lot.  Eli once asked me why I tell him so often why I love him.  I answered, “Well, what if I didn’t tell you at all?”  He wasn’t sure what to think of that.  Then I told him “Because I want you to always remember this.”  My mom gave this gift to me and I’ve never forgotten it.

#8  Boys ARE different from girls.  Boy, are they different!  They are louder, jump higher, bounce more…  But boys are different from each other too.  Some aren’t so loud or crazy.  Some are.

#9  You can’t give your kids something you yourself don’t have.  They are you.  They will mimic and imitate you.   Susie Larson talks about this in her book Growing Grateful Kids.  When she put it this way, it stuck with me.  

#10  Everything is for a time.  Hang on when the tears wear on your nerves and laugh every time you get a chance.

#11  You can’t be everywhere.  You have to trust your children to God and trust that He will take care of them.  There may be a time when you look away and something happens.  There may be a time like when my 1 ½ year old daughter went straight for the patio door and tumbles down 3 cement steps and bonks her head.  She was faster than me.  Then, my second daughter was just walking down the hall of our home when she tripped and broke her foot!  Nothing was in her way and my husband was heading out the door that afternoon for a long business trip.  Ay ay ay!  My mother in law told me when I cried that I have to trust God and remember that He loves my children even more than I do.

#12  Laugh.  Walt Wangerin says it so well in this book I’m reading.  You can read what he says on Amazon in the preview for his book…  Give them laughter. (see here.)

So, it’s not really a top 10, but maybe it’s my Top 12!  

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