My husband and I recently visited Eaglebrook Church in Lino Lakes, MN. The pastor, Bob Merritt, had been asked to share with the congregation “What Matters Most” in life, as he is retiring soon. After the message, my husband and I were discussing what we would most want our children to take away from our parenting.
Here are the 5 things I would want my children to take away from my parenting:
- You are loved immeasurably, unconditionally and eternally
- Always be open to growth and change
- Relationships are the most important thing – work hard to make them work
- Accept people where they are, do what you can to encourage them towards improvement, but don’t allow their deficiencies to control who you are
- Figure out your passion and purpose in life and do what you can to follow it
The most important thing I would want them to know is that they are completely loved for who they are. There is no expectation for them to be different, or similar to another sibling, or to perform any certain task in order to be loved. We fully realize their areas of struggle, their faults, their failures, and their shortcomings, but we will patiently love them and encourage them until they choose to make a change in their life. Our love for them stems from God’s great love for us. There is nothing they can do to make me love them any more or any less than I do.
The next thing I would want them to know is to be open to growth and change constantly in their life. At any given moment, I would want them to do the best they know to do. And, when they know differently, to make a change willingly. It’s never too late to start doing the right thing or a better thing.
Next, I would want them to realize that relationships are the most important thing. Especially in a marriage, it’s important to work hard to make it work. Giving up is easy, but not at all rewarding. Relationships are worth the effort. They are not always easy and can be frustrating at times. However, the rewards of a relationship that can endure the difficult as well as enjoy the good times, are beyond compare.
The next thing I would want my children to learn from my parenting is to accept people where they are. That doesn’t mean the same as accepting poor behavior. The person is worthy of love and respect as a human being. They need to be loved and understood before you ever attempt to impact a change in their life. If you attempt to impact a change and it doesn’t happen, you need to realize that you can’t take their problems into your own soul. You can continue to accept them where they are until they are ready to make a change in their life without allowing it to impact you negatively.
Finally, I would want them to figure out their passion and purpose in life and pursue that. I wouldn’t want them to do anything because they feel they have to. We did not want our children to feel like they had to go to college after they graduated from high school. We first wanted them to figure out what they wanted to do, and then pursue it wholeheartedly. We are proud of our children for who they are, not what they do! Although I must say, I am proud of what they do at times as well. We want our children to be happy and in pursuit of a purpose that will have eternal results.