When you hold your baby in your arms the first time, and you think of all the things you can say and do to influence him, it's a tremendous responsibility. What you do with him can influence not only him, but everyone he meets and not for a day or a month or a year but for time and eternity.
- Rose Kennedy
Parenting is hard. I think anyone who is a parent would agree and probably most who have never had children would as well. It is probably the hardest job anyone could ever have. And yes it is a job! It is a job that when done right requires more work, more commitment and more attention than anything else you will ever do in your life. It is 24 hours 7 days a week with no holidays, vacation or sick days given, but the benefits are out of this world. It is the only job where we are not required to receive any formalized training and for most of us the only training received is from watching our own parents or on the job.
I have been reaping some of the benefits lately as I watch my two oldest children start to find success in their "grown-up" lives.
|Hunter received his Bachelor of Science Degree from USU |
and has his first job teaching science and math.
|Wil served as a translator during the St. George Marathon for the delegation from Japan|
I know I am not a perfect parent. I sometimes yell. I get discouraged. I have even been known to leave a child sitting at school when they expected to be picked up. It is because I know that I am imperfect and have had my doubts, that I am doubly grateful that my children are becoming successful and productive adults. (Knock on wood since we are only halfway there.)
At the beginning of the week I went to lunch with son #2. I had heard on the news that morning a story detailing how a child's perception of favoritism can lead to substance abuse. (Read the article here) I asked son #2 if he thought his dad and I had a favorite child. He said he didn't think we did (insert my very brief sigh of relief), he knew we did because it was obviously him. (Insert shocked look on my face. Well maybe not so shocked since I knew which son I was talking to.) He did say that he had come to realize that some of his siblings take more time and effort than others and not just by Rick and me as parents, but by the family as a whole. He also said that the one needing more attention is often changing as life changes. I thought this was very insightful for someone who is just embarking on adulthood. I was impressed by his maturity.
|Read more about the Proclamation on the Family by clicking here.|
I firmly believe that the principles contained in the LDS Proclamation on the Family are the best possible scenario in which to raise happy, healthy and responsible children. Today I read an article about the importance of PDA (public display of affection) in marriage. (You can read it here.) As I read it, I reflected on how Rick has never been one to shy away from holding my hand or giving me a quick kiss goodbye. I love my eternal companion. I could not have imagined a better partner through life's journey.
I have always believed in the concepts of bonding, boundaries and mentoring;
- Bonding - spend time together, support each other in individual activities, participate in activities as a family and be involved and invested in each other,
- Boundaries - have family rules and consequences for breaking those rules, make sure that the rules are understood by all, each child is different and unique so rules need to take into account those differences. Children do not have to agree with the rules because you are the parent and establishing the rules that help the family run smoothly is your job, but they need to understand the rules and the consequences for not following the rules.
- Mentoring - be involved in your child's life, know their friends, Friend your child on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram or any other social media, know your child's passwords, go to parent/teacher conferences, do the hard stuff even when it is inconvenient or when they protest.
A great website in Utah for helping with these concepts is ParentsEmpowered.org. I became aware of this site when I was teaching classes on the effects of alcohol on an adolescent's brain for the police department where I worked. I found it to be a site that summed up my feelings towards successful parenting in a succinct and often humorous way.
Video from the LDS Church - It's About Time Mormon Ad Campaign
At the end of the week, a friend of mine who is a new mom asked if I thought her child was doing alright. She told me that she was so bombarded by people telling her what she should and shouldn't be doing that she was beginning to doubt herself. I felt strongly to reassure her that she was doing a good job. Many will sit on the sidelines and second guess our decisions - the Monday Morning Quarterbacks of Parenthood, but as a parent we know our children best and when we are trying and listening we will know what that child needs at a given time.
We can educate ourselves from the best books written by the foremost experts on the subject; we can attend classes and seminars; we can search the internet for tips on successful parenting, but I still believe that the most important thing our children need is our time. At the end of the day, these children are their own individuals and will one day leave our home and start their own adult lives and make their own adult choices. The time we spend with them and the tools we give them will provide them the foundation they build on for the rest of their lives. Those lives will be their choice and when that day comes, we need to let them know that we love them and if they need it, we still have time for them.
Read more about how to have a successful family here.
Watch more great videos about time with your family here.