When you are raising your children you hope you are doing a good job, at least you are trying your best. There are times you think your making it and other times you know the “Mother Of The Year” award will never have your name on it. Being a mother has been one of the hardest things I have ever done and the most rewarding. It has been an emotional journey that’s not over by a long shot. I hate when I hear mothers/parents say “I can’t wait until they are 18” like your job as a mother/parent magically stops on that day. The role of a mother, and father, is one that is a life journey. In many ways we raise our children until we take our last breath. Now, the word ‘raise’ takes on a distinct meaning as we enter the different stages of life. Raising can be taking care of the very important essentials like: feeding, bathing, doctor visits, and providing all the necessities for survival. Raising for us also means teaching them about God and His love for them. This is done through going to church, reading the Bible, and teaching the boys about praying and having a relationship with God. Another way we raise our children is by helping them understand social norms, how to interact with others, how to balance relationships & priorities, how to treat others, and to learn the basic skills so they can be productive adults. All of these things are also modeled by you, the parent. You set the stage as the example, please understand how important this is. It’s putting action to all the words you have been saying.
“Children are not a distraction from more important work, They are the most important work.”C.S. Lewis
Because the time we get with our children to lay these essential foundations is so incredibly short, we have to be engaged. Engagement with them everyday is very important. I know many parents that spend way too much time on their own hobbies, interest, and social life that they are completely missing the little lives in front of them. Just in everyday conversations with my boys I can hear from their own words what has gone on throughout their day. You can see what is important to them, what upsets them, and hear about their passions. These conversations also come with jokes I rarely understand, but they would never know that. I love to talk with them and hear stories about their friends and what all they did that day. Now my boys love to talk, but only when they initiate the conversation or don’t have “more important” things to do. Even when they don’t want to talk I still make them because I want them to understand that what is going on in their lives is something I put as a priority. I want them to know that I will always be here to listen and truly care about even the smallest details in their lives.
Another way my husband and I keep our children as our priority is by putting our relationship as a top priority. If we do not put our relationship over our children then our children will not have the environment that they need to grow and thrive. By putting our relationship at the top of this hierarchy they find security and comfort. Parenting is not just raising our children, but keeping our family strong. The foundation of our family is built on God and the walls are our marriage.
When our children are older and out of the house the word raising will look a lot different, but we will still play a part. They won’t need us to take them to the doctor, feed them, or provide the necessities – at least we hope not. We will, however, encourage them, listen to them, and give advise when asked. We won’t try to control them, but rather give then the space they need to thrive as productive adults. You have already placed the foundation during the early years, so the hope is when you get to this point you can watch the bird fly from the nest in complete confidence that they will soar.