A parent’s job is not an easy one. I know this comes as no shock revelation to anyone but sometimes it bears mentioning again, just as a reminder.
My wife and I are entering into a certain period of raising children when the focus becomes less on obeying our rules and more on the reasons for obeying our rules. I find myself doing a lot of educating, counseling, explaining why these things are so important and how they will carry over into adulthood. Some are major issues, some are pretty minor.
But they’re both important because as parents we’re not just in the business of setting and enforcing rules for the greater good of the family, we’ve been given the responsibility to shape lives, to guide our daughters from childhood to maturity.
All this guiding and molding and patience and stress and prayer has got me thinking about the job my parents did with me and about the things they taught me then that have made my life easier now.
Here’s a few:
- Do the job you’re asked to do. Don’t get sidetracked, don’t procrastinate, don’t change lanes without permission.
- Respect the property of others. Every time we’d go into a store or someone else’s house my parents would tell us, “Don’t touch anything that isn’t yours without permission.”
- Respect authority. Yes, as a child, this means any adult. But now, it includes my bosses, church leaders, political leaders (admittedly, this is tough at times), and anyone else who has authority over me.
- Respect women. I was taught from an early age not to hit girls, not to bully girls, not to disrespect women in any way. I did not learn this without suffering some pain.
- Say please and thank you and show good manners at all times. This was hammered into my psyche. And hammered. And hammered. My parents were determined not to have rude children.
- Be courteous and kind. Be the kind of person others want to be around.
- Unless it’s in defense, violence never solves problems, it only creates more. I’ve never been the type to seek out a fight. Violence has never been attractive to me.
- Take responsibility for your own actions. Ultimately, I can only control one person: myself. They taught me to own my mistakes and share my victories.
I don’t pretend to have completely learned all of these. I’m still a work in progress. But when I fail I’m reminded of all the work my parents put into me and it serves as encouragement to keep me going in my own duties as a parent now. And now, I’m trying to pass these lessons on to my own children with the hopes that some day they’ll look back and be thankful that Jen and I were such “strict” parents.
What are some lessons your parents taught you that have molded you into the person you are today?
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