Tuesday, March 24, 2009

MY SON'S WISDOM: TALES FROM CHILDHOOD

My 20 year old son is my guest host today. I decided it might be fun to ask him to give some "parenting" tips! No, he doesn't have any children, but he's alot closer to his childhood than I am to mine! So I asked him to think back over his childhood and see if he could come up with any ideas or suggestions from his perspective. He's still close enough to being a kid, but old enough to have learned something from it all.

It is a long post, so I just want you to know that. But I think it's worth the read. I didn't want to cut it down. Let me say that when he talks about "draining my grandpa's wallet" he means that his grandpa gave him the money, he didn't steal it.

Also, the homeschoolers comment isn't to offend (clearly, since we homeschool). It's just that occassionally kids from public school may have negative ideas of how a homeschooler should act, look, etc., and I think my son is just saying that to the public school kids he just seemed like a "normal" kid, which indeed homeschooled kids are. Sometimes people expect them to act wierd or unsocialized or something.

I find it interesting that he said we set boundaries and weren't horribly strict, when in reality we were somewhat strict. I guess it just shows that the boundaries either made sense to him or that he didn't feel restricted or just didn't want to say it, lol!). There was much that he could do, to make up for the things that he wasn't allowed to do.

Lastly, we did restrict their t.v. watching to certain shows and there was always a filter on the computer to protect them (there still is). Just wanted to clarify those few points. Clearly, you can see his sense of humor coming through (he has my warped sense of humor, poor kid).


Please understand that I asked him to post about what worked from his perspective. He is not trying to brag about how wonderful he is (although he is, both my boys are, but I'm not biased or anything, lol!). Please also understand that my husband and I are not perfect. We've made many mistakes over the years, and will continue to do so, I am sure...sigh. By God's grace our son seems to have forgotten many of them so he didn't mention them (or he's just being nice, lol!)!

I feel a little concerned posting this because I don't want you to get the wrong impression that I think we did things perfectly in raising our children. We didn't. We just love them and are doing the best we can with alot of prayer. That's all we can do. So please don't see this as a pat on our backs just because our son says some nice things. Any praise or honor goes to the Lord. Not us.

I just thought you might like a different "parenting" perspective from someone barely out of the trenches of childhood. The purpose here is just to encourage you to keep on loving and parenting those kids of yours, and remember that they aren't going to remember every single time you feel like you've messed up.

So, here's my precious son's post:

So here I sit, pondering a topic my mom asked her 20-yr-old boy (man, as my grandma politely corrected her) to write about. What was it that my parents did -right- in raising me? Obviously it's a no-brainer, and I have a list right here:

  1. They got me hooked on Dr. Pepper at age five

  2. They took my brother and I to Disneyworld three times

  3. Allowed me to take over the computer for most of our one-computer, no wi-fi life

  4. Let me highlight my hair the most hideous shade of blonde.

..ohhhh those aren't the types of ways you guys were looking for? Dang it. Haha but no seriously, I don't know how many things I could actually sit here and come up with, whether these are traits that I picked up from watching them, or specific events that ingrained themselves into myself. Nonetheless, here's a start.

I appreciate the homeschooling that they did, and now appreciate just how much work it took for my mom to do that for us, and for my dad to be there for her and pay for all of the curriculum as well. They taught me that there wasn't anything to be embarassed about with being homeschooled; in fact, a lot of my friends were jealous of that. I'm so thankful to not be one of those kids where people take one look at 'em and go "yup, a homeschooler." You know what I'm talking about. There isn't anything wrong with that, but...it does set kind of a hard first impression to overcome.

You see, my parents put me into sports through the local school district (come to find out that was mostly because the doctor said I needed to run or I'd walk like a duck the rest of my life, but you know), they took my brother and I to a homeschool co-op once a week, they allowed me to get involved in theatre through church and a local theatre company; they let me live and have fun.

The sports team taught me how to be okay with a loss; I certainly wasn't the best person on the soccer team, once having this awesome drive down the field which my teammate stole from me and didn't even make the shot. But you know what? Even though my parents were a little upset that I didn't get the chance to make the shot, I was pretty okay with it. At least I am now.

I learned at that age (about 7) that some kids may just be jerks, but there's no point in getting mad and holding a grudge. I remember being on a team with my best friend, and we would talk about all the kids we thought were kind of mean, but in turn we would be nice back.

My parents homeschooled me because they wanted to give me a firm Christian education, and to some extent to shelter me from the bad of the world. The difference was, they weren't afraid to let me be -in- the world. I'm so grateful for the protection and guarding they gave me, while not being so strict that I wasn't able to live life.

Sure, I've made some bad choices. Like that Pokemon EZboard I had which I spent hours and hours on into the early morning. Too bad my dad caught me on it at 5am that one day, and subsequently I received a 6-month ban on the internet. And..yeah, ok, maybe I snuck on occasionally during that time too. But I learned my lesson. I eventually got over it.

And yes, I was really mad when they were upset for some reason that I pierced my own ear without asking. I mean all 15-yr-olds do that, right? ...ok...well maybe not. But I know it took them by surprise, and they told me if I wanted to do it when I turned 18 I could. Well, I didn't. They were right.

And what about that one time I spent all of my hard-earned money (all $33 of it) on Pokemon booster packs? And how I drained my grandpa's wallet with some as well? Oh mom and dad, there's no WAY I'll ever regret spending so much money on Pokemon cards! ...wrong, once again. Looking back I realize it was a dumb thing to do. But my parents let me realize that on my own.

I still remember them saying that someday I'd agree with them, and I still remember saying no way. But they didn't push, and I remembered what they said. They allowed me to try on my own, without forcing themselves on me. Now granted these aren't -really- stupid things I was doing, of course there -are- times for a strict response.

When I was growing up, we weren't allowed to watch shows like The Simpsons, South Park, or any other potentially crude television show. Because we had those rules in place, I didn't have any need to question them, and I lived without some of that subject matter or jokes in my head. They were right in limiting the type of shows we watched growing up, and because of that I'd say I'm a pretty well-mannered kid. I say my please and thank you's, and learned at a young age.

Oh, the piano. I didn't want to play it. Not at all. But my parents made me practice and told me that I was great. They started me young, at 7, so I had already played for a few years before any kind of teenaged rebellion could set in. I'm so thankful that they started me then, because who knows, maybe I wouldn't have continued it or even played. I play on the worship team at church and...yeah I love it.

That makes me think of Awana. Perhaps the most important thing was being put into that program at 3 yrs old. Growing up in the church obviously has a huge affect on one's life and who they turn out to be. Yeah, I started the program out just wanting a lot of medals and such, but the verses stuck, and the ideals stuck, and because of that, I'd say I'm a pretty likeable guy (man I'm sounding rather arrogant, huh). It helps that my parents modeled their lives after Christ and set a great example for my brother and I.

I don't know where I learned it, but as a teenager I knew that rushing into a relationship is just about the dumbest thing one could ever do. My mom always told me that dating is preparation for marriage, and why rush out and get into a relationship with someone you don't even see yourself with? I still have never dated. But I'm okay with that. I feel like by waiting and being smarter about it, it'll pay off in the end. Plus people respect that, at least the kids my age.

Nowadays I'm obviously older and in college, but I'm so thankful for the relationship I have with them. I can come home and tell them about my day, I can tell everyone that I truly love them and love spending time with them. I know maybe it doesn't seem like it cuz I'm gone all the time, but that's another way they've shown trust in me. I tell them where I'm at, and they aren't pushy about it.

So I don't know if I can put this all in a nutshell, but I'll try. The things my parents did right:

  1. Grounded me in the Word and modeled a loving family; evening prayer, devotional, etc when we were growing up

  2. Loved each other and spoke kind to each other in front of us. If they ever got into a big argument, we never saw it

  3. Gave us advice but didn't push it on us; they let us discover them by ourselves

  4. Showed trust by letting us do things if we followed some rules (back by a certain time, called them, etc. this all started at a young age)

  5. Let us have a social life outside of homeschooling via theatre, sports, church, etc.

  6. Let us use the tv and computer

  7. Set boundaries, but weren't horribly strict. Yeah, at some point along the way we got exposed to the world, but at least we have a realistic viewpoint and are able to share our faith with others and not come across as social inept people (haha sorry but..just sayin ;) ) (btw none of this is aimed at anyone. lol so if I'm talking to you..I'm not. :D)

Perhaps the biggest thing I left out is the encouragement. They've always encouraged us, no matter what we did. And they were also truthful, but not in a hurting way. They'd say "you did awesome, and I know you'll do better if you work on it more." The biggest danger here is being overly encouraging and turning the kid into a little diva. Haha seriously, it won't do the kid any good if you're totally fake about it, but obviously it's important to encourage the kid to keep trying and try harder if something isn't absolutely fantastic.

I don't know if this helped anybody out there, we all know my parents' egos are about four times as large (just kidding guys. haha). But seriously, again, I don't know what exact things they did. But I know the punishments were just, and if they hadn't punished us (timeouts, grounding, etc), we certainly wouldn't have turned out any good.

Sure, I've made mistakes and I continue to do so. But I never had to fear for my life in telling my parents, or feel like they were so disappointed with me that they'd never be able to forgive me. I can't think of anything they did -wrong-. Sure there are things that I still wish I could have done, approaches that maybe I didn't like, but I'm who I am today and totally fine with it.

So this turned out monstrous, and I probably didn't even say anything that pertained to anything at all. Haha. I don't have time to go back and re-read it right now, I have a calculus and econ final to get studying for and need to leave soon for rehearsal! Thanks for your time, and maybe I'll talk to ya'll later! -

The Oldest

18 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! Tell you son he wrote so well, and he was quite humorous in some parts!! LOL about the "no wi-fi."

    I just pray that when my oldest son is 20, he will have said the similar things about his childhood! How funny, we practically do the exact same things w/ our kids that you did with yours, so..that is a good thing!!

    I'm just so impressed w/ his post! God is good!!!! Oh, and tell your son I hope he comes back again!!

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  2. That is so precious and such a testimony Mom! Great job! He seems precious (and yes, he has your wit).

    Now my question to your son -- don't peek! This is for HIS eyes only ... "Can you sneak a picture of your Mom onto her blog?" LOL

    Love,
    b

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  3. Awww Mom...you did such a fantastic job raising the oldest. You are such great examples of Christian parents. How proud you must be of your son for not only writing this post but his walk with the Lord and his level head that God placed on his shoulders. BTW...I love his sense of humor...we could totally hang out, ok him and my husband would get along great:)
    YOu should be popping with pride..but not too much, because than that would be a sin, but just enough, because you did a great job! HOpe to hear from the youngest one of these days and more from the oldest. Very sweet!

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  4. Praise GOD for a job well done faithful servants!!

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  5. I LOVED reading this. I hopped over from the UBP and am so glad. I have been debating homeschooling my little boys when the time comes, and was glad to hear a homeschooled man's reflecton on being homeschooled. Thanks for sharing!!

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  6. Wow, thanks! That is encouraging! I am still in my early years of parenting (eldest is 6, youngest is 8 months).
    Thank you for the tips.

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  7. Sounds like you have a wonderful son and have raised him well! What a blessing to hear how you've raised and molded him into the young man he is and grounded in faith! Praise God!

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  8. GREAT post! I pray that is the kind of legacy my children take away from their childhood! What a great son you have there! Good Job, Mama $ Daddy!!!

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  9. Mimi: I didn't ask the youngest because he isn't 18 yet, so figured his perspective would be still "in the trenches" so to speak. He is shy but maybe I can get him to do something one day!

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  10. That was such a great post! I love how you say that our kids will probably not remember the times we feel like we've failed. They get the encouragement, praise and understanding of Christ-like values, and they can become who they are by making their own choices. It's hard not to take the credit as a parent, but you've done an awsome job! Let him know how appreciative I am for him sharing that with all of us!

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  11. Linked to you today, Moms! Just wanted to let you know...now I'm going to read the wisdom of a 20 year old (Man, I feel old!)...

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  12. Terrific post...it must make you feel so proud of him, to see so clearly where his values lie...he seems like a terrific young man (and I hope his did well on his exams!)...I did know what he meant about some homeschoolers - enough said!

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  13. Thank you for all your sweet words. I will make sure and let him read them!

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  14. I don't dare ask my kids!!! lol

    my son is 9 and was writing a book....he was writing what could only be considered a confession about how to torture his sisters and get away with it.
    now...his methods don't work and he is ticked off for writing his 'book'

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  15. Good job, 20 year old son! What a treat to have a nice boy who can write well too!

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  16. What a great post! I am so glad that you decided to ask him to share the wisdom what you guys did right! It really helps to read that the discipline and guidelines that you set forth are welcomed - even if only in retrospect. I came from a rather strict home and am glad in some ways but feel that I was way over-protected for the most part. It is nice to get a younger person's viewpoint.

    Thank you both for sharing this!!

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  17. hey. if you don't see me commenting for a few days, it is cause i am busy and away from the computer. I have pre-scheduled for the week....I will be trying to keep up...but this is a very different year...

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  18. What a great post my friend! Tell your son thank you for sharing with us. And thank you for the encouragement to keep up the hard work. It's nice to know that it does pay off in the long run.

    Take care my friend!

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