I LOVE MY GUEST!
I cannot say that raising five children is significantly more difficult in 2015 than the 70’s and 80’s but I believe the journey to the end goal; happy, loving, morally responsible, successful and productive adults, has changed. Why? I believe we have a different relationship with our children than our parents had with us. Partly, parents “back in the day” focused on respect and discipline and were not often open to communication.
As a child the authoritative figure in our home was always our mom and grandmother; for many years dad worked and mom raised the kids. As mom was very strict, I was literally on lock down about ¾ of my childhood. No kidding! I stayed in trouble! However, what I lacked in discipline I made up in respect as both were of the upmost importance very early. We did not mouth off to adults, NO whispering under our breath, you would never find us in grown folks conversation; we were not allowed in the same room as adults. In the circle of life, we were little peons in our home who did not work, pay bills, buy groceries. Broken down to the barest of the bone, we were just GUEST! This is not implying we felt like “guest” in our homes, what our parents were conveying to us; “be appreciative of what is provided for you as you supplied none of it”.
So speed forward to our kids, 1995 and beyond. We still focus on respect, discipline and behavior; but sprinkle on independence, open communication, friendships between parents and children (yes we wear all faces), and understanding that life is its own lesson. I believe unequivocally children should address their concerns and ask “why?” if my answer to a question they presented to me was no. However, everything my child presents to me will be addressed in a RESPECTFUL MANNER. This is by no means “mouthing off”; this is teaching your children how to communicate and negotiate lol. Discipline in our home is not “go get a switch off the tree” or you cannot go outside to play! “Play outside? Really, who does that?” That would only upset my 3 year old. Our families avenue of discipline is more along the lines of “clothes, shoes, toys, PHONES, TV, tablets, I-pods; they all belong to MOM and DAD!” With that knowledge understand, “all items currently in your possession will be repossessed if your behavior dictates so”.
I most definitely started out as my mother, as she was my blueprint, but eventually, instinctively, I ventured into a different direction. I entwined bits and pieces of mom and grandmothers techniques, they are/were a mountain of information. However, while I was discovering my niche, one thing I kept close and since blessed each of my children with; the knowledge that children are guest and should appreciate what is provided for their wellbeing! We provide what you NEED as well as what you WANT kiddos; there is a difference!
With that said, raising children is such a blessing however, the clock is ticking; you are only allowed a limited amount of time and no do-over. You are attempting to instill as much as possible in a short period because 18-19 years goes by quicker than you expect; YOU WILL wake up one day asking, “What happened to the time”? When you are raising your children in GOD, and implanting values, self-love, honesty, justice, confidence, empathy, importance of education, of family and friends, etc., all while incorporating a form of discipline specific to each child’s personality, WHOOO! It is a full time job in itself!
Despite the difference in how parents guide children into adulthood, one aspect remains the same; our journey embarks with uncertainty, fear, and LOVE. NO sacrifice is too large and NO task too difficult.
But keep the faith, at the end of the day when your kid is driving you a bit bonkers; recognize God Is Good…as our parents still have their sanity, so shall you.