We only Get One Chance- For Good Or For Bad -To Parent Our Kids....

14 years ago Steam was 4, Star was 2 and Kudu was a newborn.  Y2K was sneaking up on us and I sat around with my friends joking about the reality that we only got one chance to parent - for good or for bad - each of our children.

Fast forward to today.  8 more kids, 5 household moves, 13 years of homeschooling and  5000+ more parenting days  - for fun you can add in the 40,000 diapers and at least 1500 sleepless nights and I think I'm almost ready to run screaming from the reality of it all.

Not because it's too hard (though it is very hard - especially when you add in various special needs and emotional/behavioral challenges.) But because of the constantly changing and shifting landscape called 'growing up.'

18 years into parenting I know way less now than I thought I knew at 5,10 and 15 years.   It's sort of like being a teenager - where you start off with the confidence and energy that you have this thing nailed but over time realize that you are totally unprepared for the reality of the task you signed up for.

Which is good.  And really humbling.  Because I have learned that you cant follow the crowd or popular tends in parenting.  Each child is unique and has a path that fits best for them - not the one that I like best or which works for others.  Because this truly isn't about fitting my kids into other peoples boxes.  Or trying to get my needs met through my relationship with them. It's about teaching and training them up in the way that they (as unique individuals) should go - according to the way God made them - and using the wisdom of the Bible as a framework how it looks.

And how does it look?
At 18 years I apologize more to the kids for the mistakes I make.  I love them better by allowing them to experience their own consequences. I pray more.  I listen more. I relax more and now that almost all of the parenting books are off my shelf  - I engage more fully in relational-whole-hearted  parenting.

I know we only get one chance to raise these kids.  That every day is precious and every experience moves us either closer or further from our end goal of maturity and a full awareness of who we are in Christ.  Because I am weak and overwhelmed I am excessively glad that I am not responsible for the outcome of their salvation  -  but I am responsible for pointing them to truth and (to the best of my ability) to not mess them up too much along the way.

Trusting in Jesus for all of this.



Dawn Rebekah said…
I so agree. I am 24 years into parenting special needs kids and I have more questions now that 20 years ago. Hang in there. Thank goodness for prayer and love.
Blessings, Dawn