“Just wait till their teenagers!”
This was the common refrain we heard every weekend at the ballpark while cheering on our six year old athlete and chasing her three younger siblings around the bleachers.
I often think back at how I felt when I would hear those words: overwhelmed, fearful, confused, even sad. It was as if people were communicating to me, “One day you’ll be sorry for having all those kids!”
Here’s a newsflash
It is 17 years later….and
I’m not sorry
Recently, my husband was asked to give his #1 parenting advice. If he could tell young parents one thing, what would it be? How does he raise such great kids? Without a second thought he spoke the most profound words…
Wait for it…
“NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES
YOU MUST WIN THEIR HEARTS.”
He went on to say that one reason why our family is working, was that when we first were married and starting a family, we made an intentional decision to win their hearts at a very young age. We would hold them as long as they needed to be held, never worrying about “spoiling” them. We would look them in the eye and listen to their side of the story, even if we already knew our answer. Our discipline would be swift and fair, always working to have the punishment fit the crime, followed by a sweet time of love and reconciliation.
We decided to make every effort to be involved in their lives, ask questions, find out how they were processing situations, love them with our lives, and introduce them one day to the source of all love. We decided to love each other in front of them first, always reminding them that daddy and mommy were here first, and love them in such a way, that no matter what they did, or where they went, they would always know the height and depth and width and breadth of our love for them.
Just like the Lord.
My husband said to me that it didn’t really matter if they followed all the rules of the home, obeyed us at home and in public, performed great in school, used nice manners, were star athletes and musicians, or even led worship with their youth group. Raising kids who ONLY follow the rules for the sake of outward appearance means that we are raising them for how they will make US look, how WE are perceived by society.
“OH look at that beautiful family!”
If parents are only concerned with how their kids behave, they may win the early battles, but by the time they turn 18 and are ready to leave on their own,
You will have lost the war.
In our home, we did not want to raise a bunch of rule followers, keepers of the law…Pharisees.
We knew that if we didn’t have their hearts, we didn’t have a thing. If they obeyed outwardly but inwardly resented or even hated us, we would have failed.
Check out the Parenting Secret Part TWO…
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3 thoughts on “The Parenting Secret”
I like the “how am I doing as a parent?” part. I like to take my daughter out on “daddy-daughter” dates and do exactly that… AND LISTEN
I love this blog! Great advice– and your kids obviously have given their hearts to you!
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