Love is spelled T-I-M-E we’re told.
I have learned that despite homeschooling my children, I can easily not spend quality time with my kiddos. Since we are so often together driving in the car somewhere, or doing our weekday studies, making dinner or reading a book, it can be a challenge to set aside even more time to ask, “So how is it going?” But it’s funny, the time that is not entirely scripted by me is usually the most solid time that I can connect with each of them.
Love is spelled C-O-N-N-E-C-T-I-O-N.
Sometimes that connection is easily found between two people. But sometimes that connection does not come naturally even between parent and child. There might be a case of post partum depression or significant personality differences. And yet, it is our responsibility to follow them with love and pursue connection that is felt from both sides.
Love is spelled T-R-A-I-N-I-N-G.
Training them to fill the dishwasher, do their own laundry, help with housework…
Training them to speak kindly, focus on their work, introduce themselves to strangers…
Training is a lot of work, but training pays off. It puts order in their worlds, but it also gives them purpose and focus. And as a result of their efforts, it gives them competence and confidence.
Lest you think I think I’ve got a firm grasp on parenting though, I will put a stop to that notion. I usually write whatever I am learning. Parenting=learning. The more I know, the more I know I don’t know.
I have no firm grasp on much, but I’ve got this one thing: a hell-bent will to keep learning and a pursuing these creatures that have been entrusted into my care. That’s mighty easy many moments, but as you know, and as they get older, it can definitely get more challenging.
Pre-parenting I read and read and read parenting books, and expected that the more I read, the more I would improve my parenting abilities when I had my kids. Those books may have fueled a few thoughts in my mind, but I have learned most things by trial and error, like most people.
So perhaps to add to your thought life about parenting, I offer these thoughts:
1. You don’t choose your child. God has an uncanny ability to match us with the people we need to mix with to learn the things we need to learn. At times you think they’re the best thing that walked the face of the planet, and at other times you want to remove them from the face of the planet.
2. Every child adds something beautiful to our lives. We are blessed by at least one of them at any given time, but often more. And at any given time, there might be surrounding me an infusion of chutzpah, practicality, production, animation, energy, helpfulness, kindness, confidence and compassion.
3. Every child teaches us something. And I don’t just mean what best opening positions for my chess pieces are. (Or the fact that I would actually play chess). There is always something in each child that will bring out something in us that requires us to build our ‘love’ muscle more strongly.
4. We don’t know the end of the story. We might see a theme in their lives, a character trait that we see them repeatedly struggling with, but we don’t have to assume a troubled ending. Having watched the lives of kids older than mine grow to a happy healthy adulthood, I am reassured that a happy ending is a realistic expectation for my kids.
And without question, every single one of my kiddos has been worth every effort expended on them.