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Dan Horwedel

Good insights, Jim. One of the things that was/is hard for me was understanding that when my children were younger they needed me to be a parent more than a friend. As they grew older (they're now 21 & 18) it has slowly been reversing.

Greg England

I learned many of the same lessons. Not only can I not go back and re-do life, I would not even want to. The main lesson I learned (it was from an opposite experience in my life) was to be there for my children. To make it a priority of my time and life to support them in whatever they were doing at that time. Sports. School events. Church ministry. We did almost everything as a family. When we moved to Florida, our children were 3-1/2 years and 3 months. We were invited that first weekend to dinner with people who would become closest friends. We told them if we did, we'd have to bring the children. From that moment, if it didn't involve the entire family, we would politely decline until the children were much older and able to stay alone.

The other lesson Janice and I learned was that of expectation. We'd heard so much about how terrible the "twos" were and how, when our children reached adolescence, we would think often of murder and how to cover it up. We decided not to have those expectations of our children. Rather, we set before them expectations of good behavior and they lived up to our expectations. The "terrible twos" were wonderful. We never had a moment's problem with our children growing through the teen years. We had struggles and moments of coming to an understanding, but it never boiled over into confrontations.

I've been long-winded on your response, but you hit a subject very dear to my heart: My children!

becky

Biggest thing was I couldn't give away what I didn't have......we have to trust Him before we can show our kids the value in that.....What an amazing God to give us Grandkids to love on later!!

Meagan

(Uncle) Jim -

Thanks so much for this post. As a brand new parent, I've been reflecting a lot lately about the responsibility I feel to raise a true man of God. I'll take all of the direction I can get.

Love you!
Meagan

SG

The one phrase that seems to capture how I feel about these child rearing days is "Lang days but short years." I'm not sure where I first heard that term, but I get it! After a day of wrestling a 4 and 8 year old while expecting number three any week now, I am so tired I can't imagine how I will wake up and do it again tomorrow. But then I look at my kids and I can't believe they are already 4 and 8 years!!! We were just coming home from the hospital yeaterday! Where did all those long days go? Yep, long days and short years.

gail

I think it is amazing how I have become a wiser and calmer grandmother than I was as a mother. Those little irksome things my kids did are so cute when I see them in my grandkids. My kids' reactions to their kids quirky personalities are almost fun to watch and I don't even have to give my advice unless I am asked. This is a lovely time of life.

julie

I learn much about the eternal parent as I experience parenting, albeit imperfectly. I continue to find a deeper understanding of love, without regard to performance, mostly through the experience of parenting.
I suspect I'll continue to learn about Him, and how He loves me as my parent, even when those kids He loaned me have kids of their own.

Jim Martin

Hi Dan,
My children are 23 and 19 and they still want a "dad." It is different than when they were small though no less significant.

Jim Martin

Greg,
Thanks. It is interesting to me that many of us seem to have such low expectations of our children. ("They are going to experiment with drugs, party, have sex, etc.") Perhaps the attempt is to be realistic. Unfortunately, we often communicate that we have very little confidence in them.

Jim Martin

Becky,
I like your line, "I couldn't give away what I didn't haver."

Jim Martin

Meagan,
I remember similar thoughts and feelings when I was a brand new parent. It's all very humbling. At one time I thought if I would just try hard enough, it would all work just right. What I have learned (after enough blunders) is that I needed to be constantly learning.

I still am by the way. :)

Jim Martin

SG,
The longest days I can remember were when each of our kids were babies and cried and cried. (I had the bright idea that we should take our one year old to the Memphis Zoo in the July heat and humidity. NOT smart. :)

Jim Martin

Gail--so glad you are enjoying being a grandparent. Sounds like a great time of life.

Jim Martin

Julie,
What you say is so true. I think parenting can teach us so much about God. There is a lot to be learned...

Ted Gossard

Jim, Thanks. Such an important topic. Helpful and this especially resonates with me:

"The challenge is not to be a perfect parent. It's not to try to do everything just right. Rather, the challenge is to be intentional. It is to have a vision for your children that is centered around God."

Brad Cox

Jim,

Thanks for your thoughts from a veteran who has been in the trenches. From my work with teens and their families, Jill and I have learned not to just give lip service to the things we value the most. Children can see clearly the things that are most important to us by how we spend our time and money. If I am going to help coach my daughter's soccer team, I also want her to see me teaching in her Bible class at church.

Brad

Jim Martin

Brad,
So good to hear from you! You have worked with teens and parents for so many years. I admire who you are and what you model before your children and others.

dcypl

"But if Daddy is upset, angry, and argumentative, that has a way of disrupting everything"

That was me yesterday, not a good day. I apologiseed to my 3&1/2 yr old afterwards. Poor thing had an earache and the sniffles, and Dad was angry about something petty.

Jim, your posts are helpful considerations on life and family.

Cheers, Mike

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