I'm sorry it's been a long while since I have written. I guess you could say that life has been tugging on my heart strings. You know those times...when life sometimes just gets too hard to bear. I have been having to measure out tough love to my almost twenty one year old...not an easy thing to do. Perhaps if I had practiced more on the small stuff, it would have made tough love on the big stuff easier to measure out?!
Ahh reflection. That's what we're supposed to do when we greet a new year - reflect on the past and make resolutions on how we will make changes in the new year. Perhaps I have been reflecting upon my years of child rearing and asking myself if I had it all to do over again, what would I have done differently?
The answers came all too quickly. Yes, I would have done some things differently. I think that my children exited the womb and came bursting upon the world screaming, "I want!" Not, I need, but I WANT!!!! You see I am a baby boomer parent and that means that I grew up with a healthy fear of my parents. There was a certain respect granted to our parents, teachers, and other authority figures. We had regular chores and got menial jobs when we turned sixteen and were happy for the pay that we got.
We didn't get cars on our sixteenth birthday (I felt fortunate to be able to drive the family beast of a station wagon on special occasions). I grew up in a small three bedroom house with one bathroom and when I graduated from high school, I didn't go on a trip to a foreign country. I went out to Wright's Seafood Restaurant with my family (which in those days was a big deal). In short, I had a healthy sense of gratitude which my children, and I believe other children of the baby boomer generation, do not have. In our quest to give them everything we did not have, we have deprived them of the gift of gratitude. Look at other countries with far less than what we have in the US and their level of gratitude for all of God's gifts.
I'm sure to some, I sound like an old curmudgeon. Perhaps if I had used the word "No" as an answer to the primal scream of "I Want" more often, I would have more grateful children. Maybe if instead of planning family ski vacations, I had planned more trips to the local shelter to serve meals to the homeless, there would be more hope for this next generation? Perhaps...perhaps...
I pray that God, in his goodness, will fill in the cracks where I fell short (and those are plenty). There are, I realize, some things that I would have done the same. Such as: I would be fully present with my children. I would not be consumed with technological distractions. I would often put down whatever I was doing in order to give them the gift of importance.
I would also have kept my rule of one activity per child. None of this running every night of the week to a different activity. On the days when there wasn't an activity, homework came first and then, wonder of all wonders, I shooed them outdoors to play. It's amazing the life lessons you learn in a pick up game of neighborhood roller hockey. If they got bored...all the better. Some of the world's greatest inventions came about because someone was allowed to get bored.
Most importantly, I would have definitely wielded the sword of truth - scripture. My children used to teasingly call me "Bible Lady" because I would quote scripture to them on all occasions since they were tiny. I believe there is power in the Word. We need to teach it to our children.
Teach them (God's precepts) to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, ... and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 11:19)
I believe that the Word will not return void when used. We may not see the fruits of our labor right away (yes, I have a prodigal child), but I do believe that in time the truth we have impressed upon them will yield a great harvest.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Thank you for your patience with me in my sabbatical from writing and then returning with a reflective editorial. If someone can learn from my mistakes and my victories, then let me be transparent.
More than anything, know, in 2014 that you are loved beyond all measure by the God of the universe. He has great things in store for you this year. Be open to His leading and let His light shine brightly through you.
In His love,
ps. Even though I haven't been writing lately, I still continue to pray for each and every reader of my blog in the morning and in the evening. Praying you will be blessed!