July 27, 2017
I am currently on vacation. In my absence, I will be re-posting popular blog posts from the past. This blog is now in it’s fifth year! The posts I’ll be sharing with you while I am away come from my first year of writing daily on the From The Deacon’s Desk site.
The following is a brief reflection on the “pay off” of parenting.
I want to take this opportunity to encourage all parents to stay the course and persist in your efforts to raise good kids. It is challenging to be a parent and it seems to get more challenging all the time. Parenting is a job. You need to roll up your sleeves and get after it every day.
Your parenting may meet with resistance in the form of whining, complaining, or even defiance. Some kids get caught up in their own little world, which usually entails tuning parents out. Even if you are fortunate enough to avoid resistance or being tuned out, don’t plan on being affirmed. You are not likely to hear: “Good call on the grounding, Dad. It sent just the right message. Consider that behavior extinguished. You’re a great parent!” or “Thanks for not letting me go to that party, Mom! Your intuition was spot on! I am fortunate to have you as a parent.”
Parenting can be exhausting. There are days when you wonder if there will ever be a payoff for all of your hard work.
Carol and I have four grown children. We were the ultimate example of the blind leading the blind when it came to parenting. We were forever “winging it,” second-guessing ourselves, and living in constant fear of the decisions we made.
Were we too hard on them? Were we too soft? They gave no response at all – should I be concerned? I told him he couldn’t do something and he smiled – what did that mean? Surely we weren’t the only parents who said, “No”…were we?
We never knew if we were doing the right thing or if our kids would benefit from our parenting. So we just did our best and prayed alot.
Three of our kids are married now, and we have four grandchildren. (Note: All four of our children are now married…and we have six grandkids) I see my kids interact with their own kids and see them emphasizing many of the same things we emphasized as parents. I see them adopting some (not all, thank goodness!) of our parenting “strategies.”
When our grown children get together, I see that they really love one another, care for one another, and treat one another with respect – which was really all Carol and I ever wanted as parents. We always trusted that if we loved them, and taught love in our home, they would take that love out into the world.
I once spoke at an event attended by my children and received this e-mail from my son the next day: Your speech last night was awesome. I wanted to tell you how proud I am of who you are. I was thinking last night – if someone wanted to learn about how to live life, all they would really need to do is follow you around. I’ve been blessed to have that opportunity my entire life! Thank you!
Persevere in being the best parent you can be. Be patient. Don’t expect your kids to shower you with gratitude. The pay-off, the affirmation of a job well done, will come later. It will come in a variety of forms: Seeing one child drop everything and drive five hours to be with a sibling who needs her. Hearing your children say, “I love you,” to one another and know they mean it. Having a picture of a smiling grandchild on your desk. Having your children call you to seek advice. Or maybe, just maybe, getting it in writing with a simple thank-you e-mail.