Hindsight is Always 20/20
By Carla Green
I loved my days of parenting young children. I now am a mom of a 23, 21, and 17 year old. When I look at how I parented and my goal of parenting, I honestly missed some great opportunities. I’d like to share with some of you younger moms, a discovery I made along the mothering journey. While it’s never too late to start, the benefit of starting this when they were small would have made an amazing difference.
I’ll never forget being taught as a young mother the goal of parenting is to take your children from 100% dependence on you (the parent) to 100% independence from you. Well if prizes were being given out in that category, I would have taken home the gold. My kids are independent and have been for a number of years: self-starters, self-thinkers, decision makers, and adults way before their time.
However, here’s where that approach is faulty: Parenting with independence as the goal, takes out the dependence we need to have on God. I wished I had guided my children from being dependent on me to being dependent on Jesus.
When the celebrations, questions, and hardships of life hit, the best friend we have is Jesus. When we’re trying to figure out direction for life, we need to turn to God. When crisis happens, we don’t need to figure things out on our own…we need to ask God what to do.
I remember the kid’s questions that came my way that I allowed them to figure out on their own. Other times I figured things out for them myself. Sometimes I was taking control, and sometimes letting go.
Instead I should have encouraged them to invite God into the situation, through prayer, to see how He wanted to handle it. My role as mom could have been helping them discern what God was saying. The greatest gift I could give was how to truly be in relationship with their Creator. It would have jump started their relationship with Jesus and would have forced me to lay down my mommy agenda.
Now as young adults when the difficulties of life hit and problems arise, they wouldn’t have to feel alone or embarrassed they can’t figure it out. They would be able to recognize God’s voice and quiet the noise of this world, resting in the truth that God is for them and realizing He has a great plan and purpose for their life.
Oh i know, all is not lost and you never stop parenting your kids even if they are independent. However, if you can learn from my mistakes, then my learned wisdom can be put to good use!
One thing I know for sure, Jesus can restore all of our parenting mistakes. It’s never too late to demonstrate how to be in relationship with Jesus. Be authentic. Love your husband and kids through and in all things. Offer to pray with them…in the moment. Recognize what you think God is doing in the situation and speak into it. Encourage them. Celebrate what God is doing. Repeat.
Hindsight is always 20/20. My you use my farsightedness to improve your nearsightedness as a mom today!
What about you? Are you a “seasoned mom” who can pass along a piece of wisdom to our younger moms? Leave a comment with your advice here.
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I had my kids memorize scripture through AWAna and Chritian school– but I still wished we would have done more scripture memory of the Bible as a family– a shared experience– with as crazy as the world is, the more truth we all have – the better!
I also wished I would have helped them save more $! And started their own biz in jr high or high school– one that really worked . . .they had little part time things– but I wished they really knew small biz. They are all doing fine today, but a savings account that they each had going into college would have made things easier on all.
Pam, I totally get the money issue having kids in college and now one planning for a wedding. One of the great take-a-ways my children have gleaned from watching their parents is tithing. We have shared how we have made huge sacrificial giving with tithing and needs that have presented themselves and they have watched how God has blessed our sacrifice. It’s so important to show God’s economy for giving and saving.
I want to encourage you that you will always be a parent and they are always watching your behavior even if you don’t think you are getting their attention.
Carla, I love this! I have 2 girls…12 and 16 and I can’t say that I’m as good as you were in the Independence Department. My 16 year old is still very dependent and I feel like I need to do a lot of work in the next 1 1/2 years before sending her off to college to make sure she is more independent. Keeping your advice in mind will definitely help me on that quest. Pointing her in the direction of God for her dependence will be a great comfort to me, rather than the thought of her relying on herself. Thank you for the nudge! 🙂
My advice to young moms is Availability…It’s easy and necessary to be available when kids are young, but as they get older and are seeking independence, sometimes we become less available because we think they don’t need us as much. But they do…just in different ways. Always be available to listen, ask questions even when you are afraid of the answers. Be slow to speak. Quick to listen. It’s amazing what they will share. This morning as I was dropping off my highschooler at school, we were a little early. So, as we were parked in front of the school, we started playing the “Name that kid” game. I would try to name the kids that were walking into the front door of the school. It was amazing the amount of information that she shared with me about some of those kids. Some information I would have preferred not to know, but I believe that knowledge of what is going on is so important. 🙂 I try to create moments like these when she can share things in a non threatening way on her own terms; and I can learn more about her world.
Karen, thanks for the comments and great stuff on Availability. You know that is huge in the kid department as well as for your relationship with your husband and Jesus. Being present in the moment is key to all of our relationships and as busy moms, professionals, volunteers, etc; we tend to get distracted. Good advice to stay in the moment, that seems to be where all the action is!
I agree 100%. My boys are 4, 3, and 20 months and my husband and I have dragged them through several moves because we didn’t know where to go. And finally, in a small town of 2000 people, I opened my eyes saw Jesus. He opened my eyes and reopened my husbands eyes. Before this point, we were at a point we were frustrated at everything. Our children were suffering and their innocent. I knew things had to change for our children’s sake. I don’t want to be an angry mother. Then I understand it all, things made sense when Jesus entered my life . I knew then that I want my children to have a relationship with Jesus. This eternal unbreakable relationship that Dr.Charles Stanley have with him. I want that relationship and ask God for me to raise my children that way. I want them to understand that God has purpose for them and life doesn’t have to hurt so much and for them to never feel lonely. I make sure to hug, kiss and tell them I love them whenever possible, my husband also. My husband and I didn’t have any of that. Now we have Jesus to hold are hands through this life and beyond and we will be okay.
Virginia…that is awesome! Thanks for sharing and your story is a great gift to share with others.