Monday, July 06, 2009

Getting It Right

Someone recently asked what my parents did right in raising seven kids. And it gave me pause – they certainly did a lot right and even the times that maybe they didn’t get it just right, they learned and grew and taught us. I felt I gave a partial answer but thought it actually deserved more reflection and more of an answer. So here are some of the things I think my parents did right (in no particular order):

-they encouraged sibling friendships
-they had an open door – even if we got in at midnight and they were already in bed
-they were a united front
-they balanced each other
-they gave us a Biblical foundation for life through church and family worship
-they had realistic expectations about relating to adult and married children
-they gave us individual time
-they loved each other and showed it daily
-they took their involvement in our education seriously
-they taught us from their mistakes
-they were never afraid to tell us they were sorry and to ask for our forgiveness
-they prayed with us and for us
-they loved us unconditionally even when we made them crazy
-they allowed us to be individuals
-they encouraged us in our interests
-they dialogued with us about anything and everything
-they made it a priority to have family mealtimes
-they took us on vacation (often camping) even when money was tight
-they modeled care and concern for others
-they welcomed our friends
-they created traditions

And when I look at this list, I know it’s incomplete. What a blessing to have such a heritage. My parents sacrificed much to have a big family - I never doubted that they loved it and I never doubted that they loved each of us.

I love spending time with my family and aside from Andrew, my siblings are some of my very best friends. My parents are our friends, too – they made the transition from parenting us as children to becoming our friends in an admirable and rare way. And the memories from childhood are amazing and sometimes hilarious and the memories we are still making as a family are a blessing.

Thanks Mom & Dad for doing so much right! You gave each of us a gift in the way you raised us and you have taught us much about being good and wise parents.


Margaret said...

That's a great list. It's totally true, I was just reflecting this week with Philip about what a huge blessing it was that we were going into our marriage having both grown up with wonderful examples of marriage and family. I know Mom and Dad haven't done everything right, but I am forever greatful for the way they parented us.

Roo's Mommy said...

That's just beautiful! I love your list. All good points. I love the part about loving each other and traditions. I didn't know you were from a big family. I am too. I'm the youngest of nine.

Courtney said...

Great post.

stephanie said...

A very true post! I am often reminded of how blessed I am to have them as my parents.

Monica said...

This gives me much to think about today. May God give us as much wisdom as we parent our children, too.

Stephanie and Gary said...

a beautiful and inspiring list ....