This is the final post in the series BAD MOM DAYS. The first one started here. This is the sixth in the series.
There aren’t many of us who actively write blogs that have grown children. There is something about going through the full process…and seeing those children have children, that gives some perspective on the days of raising children that seemed so crazy and insane! And they were…it isn’t your imagination.
When my friends and I get together, we find it hard to believe all we did then…and realize we aren’t up to that task at this point in our lives.
However, I remember enough to pass on some general things I learned from the bad days of bringing up our girls. And they weren’t all bad. I don’t want to convey that at all. But some days were awful!
I had one daughter in particular who had a special gift. She knew just how to push for things in a way that touched the deepest part of my guilt buttons. Of course, I didn’t realize what was going on for awhile. I reacted first…on instinct. When it seemed to happen over and over with what often seemed to my husband to be out of proportional responses on my part, I started trying to figure out what was going on.
This was not an easy process. This was at least a second generation problem. That isn’t an excuse. It is stating a fact regarding a powerful influence. When we grow up a certain way, we don’t always realize what “normal” is. We need to see examples along the way.
Mentors of all kinds are available to our kids and us…
Grab these people, get to know them and make use of them!
I watched people like a hawk while I was growing up. I’m not sure they realized how much I was watching because I was always talking! Turns out I was able to multi-task more than people thought!
But I was paying major attention to examples around me. I wanted to be like Ada, who would have us over to perm our hair and make it into an overnight fun night. She would usually have some fun foods. I never eat cold asparagus salad with 1000 Island Dressing without thinking of her. She was southern, a rarity in south Florida, sweet as sugar and genuine to the core! She loved on us and cuddled on us and thought we were wonderful! We didn’t hear that often and it was like visiting an oasis.
She prayed about everything…and one day we found out she was pregnant with her second daughter. She was over-the-moon excited! It was something doctors had said could never happen! I’ll never forget the excitement of waiting for Laurie and the curiosity of whether this would be a boy or girl. Even her older sister Melvie was excited. I remember Ada praying over Laurie and teaching her Bible songs and verses from day one! It was so fun to watch her grow up. Now Laurie’s children are grown! Her mom has been with the Lord for quite awhile now. But the smell of permanent solution ALWAYS reminds me of Ada!
And the Fain family! I spent many a night there…and quite a few afternoons after school in jr. high. Their oldest daughter Linda was my friend then. We didn’t keep up after our families moved away, but as a familly, they had a powerful influence on me. They seemed to enjoy each other’s company. They liked each other. The family was happy, normal of course, but generally happy. The mom enjoyed serving her family whether she was ironing, cooking or cleaning. Just being around that family ministered to me in ways that were powerful! I spent enough nights with them to know this was their normal. No, they weren’t perfect. As it happened, her dad was pastor of the church where my dad “principaled” the christian school at the time.
I remember deciding then that I wanted to have a home like that when I married. I didn’t know how it would happen, I just knew I wanted it. I think there was a lot of similarity in our home to theirs too. Surprising how such a short period of time would have such a strong influence.
Over the years, I have watched many in our churches that were great role models for me. I remember Ruth in one church in Miami. She was plenty “old” then, but was she in the older adult class for Sunday School? NO! She loved younger couples and came to our class to keep things moving. She was always there poking and prodding.
There was always someone else teaching, but she was there to be sure we were there…and checking to see what was happening if we weren’t. She was a great example to me of what I wanted to be like at her age. I’m probably about the age she was then. And I’m always pushing…myself, those around me and anyone who will listen. That’s probably one reason I write this blog!
I’m mentioning only a very few of the people who had an influence on me as a child and young adult. There were many, many others I can’t list here.
Passing on encouragement and hope
Yes, I must be vulnerable and genuine about myself. But I must share the HOPE of the gospel. What is it? Christ has redeemed you from the curse of the Law….
Allow your children to enjoy the influence of many other believers of different ages…
It is good for our children to be influenced by other families and friends. We don’t need to be the only influences in their lives. We will always be the primary ones, but there were many others who influenced our girls for good. I remember Terree and Consuelo who often took our daughters out for lunch one at a time. They showed them that if marriage isn’t something that God is bringing into your life right now, it is not something to grieve and whine about, but it is a time to grow and enjoy the benefits of being single.
Eventually, they married…as did our girls. But their single years were enjoyable and profitable too. They didn’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves because of what they didn’t have. And there were some of their christian school teachers who became role models and encouraged them. There were singles and couples and mothers and teachers and people in church and school over their years of growing up that played a part in who they became. They showed them what “normal christians” looked like. They showed them what “godly” looked like with skin on. They filled gaps that we couldn’t fill. They showed our girls a side of Jesus we couldn’t. It was great!
Thank you to all of you!
God is big enough to manage our questions and doubts
It is important to realize that whether you know it or not, there are people watching you. Unless the life you live is genuine, you won’t stand up to that kind of scrutiny. I’m NOT saying your life has to be one of no failures or sins. That won’t happen. I’m saying that your genuineness needs to show through. Are you worried or anxious? Don’t put on a fake “just trusting GOD” veneer. It is too easy to see through. Allow those who know you to see your struggles to the degree it is appropriate. The concept that we aren’t to question GOD is so not true!
Thomas came to Jesus with his doubts and questions. Jesus is up to the challenge and then some. He may not answer all the questions you have, but He will answer the questions you need to have answered. He is GOD after all! As a parent, there are questions we can’t give the full answer to because of the age and experience of the child asking. I think that is a good example of the way it is with GOD. There is a part of the full picture that we just don’t have here. We know enough, but not every one of our questions will be able to be answered before eternity. That’s just the way it is.
Meanwhile, we have people to go to that have experienced walking with GOD longer and in different ways than we have. We can learn from them…and should take full advantage of the opportunity! Often it is just in the form of friendship. Sometimes, it is in a more structured relationship. Either way, we need to take advantage of mentors, mentor others ourselves and encourage our children to enjoy the relationships of godly friends and acquaintances who can encourage them in ways we miss.
Can you think of people whose examples were helpful to you?
Is there someone you can think of that you can befriend as a mentor? …that you need to be mentored by?
Take time this week to think and pray about a person that comes to mind. Then go talk to them re your mentoring them or vice versa. Meet for coffee or breakfast or something and discuss. Think of it as starting a friendship with a purpose.
***Join us tomorrow for Honey, It’s Time to Grow Up! 31 Facets to Maturity
This will supercede our normal month schedule and will be here for the next 31 days!