I was cleaning out my closet this weekend and I came across a piece of paper with a picture of an angel, a little boy, and a poem. I remember buying this for 15 dollars from a woman I met at a seminar about twenty years ago. I don't know if she wrote it or not, but she told me that she did. I had this while my kids were growing up and kept it in a place where I could read it at least once a week. In a perfect world, this would have been my Bible and it would have been my point of reference on how to raise children. Like my parents before me, I did the best I could, and hopefully it was good enough. Like all parents, I feel it was never enough, and I would like to do it differently. Unfortunately, you only get one chance to raise a child.
If I Could Parent Him Again (I Would Do It DIfferently)
I would be more grateful for the child I have instead of the one he may never be.
I would listen more to his nonsense and childish ramblings, rather than expect intelligence and wisdom from one so young.
I would focus less on his messiness, and allow him more room to sprawl and merely be.
I would admire openly his friends and music, his clothes and hair, knowing they too will change as often .....as will his need for me.
I would laugh more, forgive more and criticize less.
I would be more honest about my own inadequacies and less self righteous.
I would share more of his dreams and force less of mine on him.
I would validate more often his uniqueness as a human being, a beloved child of God, and his importance as the very core of life that through our family flows.
I would discard perfection, rigidity, outdated rules, punishment and control.
Instead I would set standards of discipline through consequences, setting limits and boundaries and promote peace for maintaining balance of mind, body and spirit.
I would accomplish these skills by modeling them rather than preaching them.
I would become the student, and allow him to teach me to be more loving, kind and understanding.
To fear less those events which may never materialize, and to trust in God more, when they do.
I would allow the process of life to unfold unconditionally, and to accept it more on His terms rather than on mine.
In my home, I would be more of a parent and less of a professional.
I would guide more and demand less, nurture my own, and volunteer less for others.
I would make and spend more time and less money.
Most of all - I would turn my back on the past, and close my eyes to the future.
But, I would grasp hold of the present for all it is worth and hang on.
I would experience its joyful essence and every precious moment I am with him.
For the past is but a collection of faded memories.
The future is still a distant dream.
It is the present that is real, not merely what might have been, nor what could be, but what is now is truly all that exists.
And I would lose myself in it just as if......it may never end.