Recently I was working on a message for a parenting series we were doing at River Pointe. The thought was to try to identify those things we as parents do or did that were “touchdowns”. I know many of us who have been parents for a while are painfully aware of the things we did that were not healthy. However, I thought it would be nice to try to identify some things we did right.
Julie, my wife, is a kindergarten teacher. I had Julie ask her students “what are the things your parents are great at?” I loved hearing their unfiltered responses.
- “Helping us when we get hurt. Snuggling on us.”
- “Work to get money. They like taking care of us.”
- “When my sister forgets to do her chores, they do it for her.”
- “They feed me good and they are good drivers.”
- “They teach me how to be good, take me to the store to buy things for me.”
- “They take me to church every Sunday.”
- “They fix my lunch for me. My dad helps my mom.”
- “They help people with speech and they are good at what they do. My mom is nice and she is sweet to me.”
- “They wash the dishes and clean up the house.”
- ” They take out the trash, make dinner and breakfast, and take me to fun places.”
- “They go to work to get money and they take me to Chucky Cheese.”
- “Dad does a good job at work. He watches my baby sister so she doesn’t go up the stairs.”
- “If they have a big fight they work it out. I tell them ‘be sure and give each other a hug’. If I am sick she asks her boss if she can stay home with me.”
- “When they promise me something they do it. When my mom tells my dad to mow the yard, he does it!”
As I was reading through their responses I noticed a few things. First, these kids are paying much closer attention than we think. Many times what we think is important, is not at all what they think is important. I remember having very purposeful teaching moments with my girls. The funny thing is, they probably don’t remember those long talks. I think they are more likely to remember how I helped their mom clean up the house, than the discussion we had about serving others. We assume so much of our daily activity is unnoticed, but we learn here that our kids are closely watching us.
Another important thing to note is that security is a big deal to these children. It’s a big deal to us too. The kindergartener’s responses show us so much about what makes these kids feel secure, safe, and loved. In my counseling practice, security and the lack of it may be the most common underlying issue that I see day in and day out.
Lastly, successful parenting is about being loving people. There are certainly some issues which require great expertise in parenting such as mental illness, drug abuse, sickness and illness but in much of parenting we are reminded that love covers a multitude of ignorant stuff we do as parents. Ross Campbell, M.D. wrote a great book titled How To Really Love Your Child. I recommend it to all parents.
I am looking forward to many more posts regarding parenting, faith, and family.
Have a great day. I welcome your comments. God bless, Matt.