Parenting Perspectives: 15 Things My Kids Should Know About Me
In a book I was recently reading, the author referenced a Facebook post that was going around a few years ago. In it, Facebook users were prompted to share a list of (somewhat random) things about themselves. Things their closest online friends might not know about them, but maybe should.
The author used it as an opportunity to pull back the facade on her life and be vulnerable with experiences from her past, feelings in her present, and fears of her future that most people didn’t realize about her. It resonated with all who read it, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
It occurred to me that I could make a list for my children. 15 Things I Want My Kids to Know About Me.
1. I like to make lists.
2. God and I have a close relationship. But it hasn’t always been that way. It was, and then it wasn’t. It was, and then it wasn’t. It is again, but it could be better. I can tell you without a doubt that life has been exponentially better during the times that I’ve been holding up my end of the spiritual relationship.
3. It’s not that I’m NOT a morning person exactly, it’s just that I like my mornings to be peaceful. No talking. Maybe no people. Until about 9:00 a.m. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
4. When I was a young child, I had a magazine subscription that contained a special Pen Pal section in the back. I wrote to at least 10 other children who had listed their names and addresses, and we became ongoing pen pals for years.
5. I cannot handle snakes. Just the thought makes my skin turn inside-out. Or maybe I don’t want you to know that, in case the boys use it against me someday.
6. I thank God every day for each one of you, individually. He knew exactly what our family needed when he made you and gave you to us. You are perfectly and wonderfully made, and I am grateful.
7. Having a strong relationship with your dad is my #2 most important goal in life, after my relationship with God. You are collectively #3. Please don’t be offended.
8. I like to drink wine, go dancing, sing in the kitchen, and play games that make me laugh because I think those are gifts given to us to experience this world more fully.
9. My whole life, I have thrived off other people’s praise. I wanted to be the best at everything I tried, and if I couldn’t, then I wouldn’t try at all. I’m recovering now, but I wish I wouldn’t have mentally beat myself up so much in my younger years.
10. When it was time for me to go to college, I had some big choices to make. My top pick was financially unreasonable. My second pick was located in a big city, and I had never visited the school. At the last minute, I was offered a full tuition scholarship to any university in the state. And I turned it down.
In the end, I went to my second pick school, chose not to stay, and transferred and graduated from a small university in a small town that I had never heard of before. It would be easy for me to feel embarrassed (and I probably did at the time), foolish (because who in their right mind turns down a scholarship like that?), or ashamed (clearly too big for my britches). Instead, I know that if I had never gone, I would have always wondered, and that would have been worse. The experience and growth has been worth every penny.
11. I would give up my life for you, my precious angels, but for the love of all that is holy, sometimes it takes all my strength not to hide in my bedroom and let you fend for yourselves. Wake me when the whining and bickering is over.
12. “My love is unconditional. Your action is irrelevant.”
13. Anything you have felt or are feeling, I am here to listen. My empathy runs deep. I try to keep my advice to myself, unless otherwise requested.
14. I am not perfect, and I don’t want you to think I am. My life is nothing but experiences that are trying to get me closer to holiness, and they are open to you. You can ask me anything, and I will always tell you the truth.
15. I like to keep things, shall we say, uncluttered. I think we’re all a little bit happier when the house is kept tidy. Perhaps we could agree to work on this together, yes?
It’s been an idyllic summertime experience. It has brought me joy and even made me love my children more, to see them running and laughing and enjoying the simplicity of childhood. When I see the viral posts saying how we need to “give our kids a 1970′s summer” again, I just shake my head. Regardless of the decade, everything we need for a perfect summer is within us.
When I am laughing with my daughter on the floor as she pretends I’m her baby, watching the joy unfold on my middle son’s face as I “fly” him on my feet, or feeling the comfort of my oldest son’s arms around me at bedtime, sometimes my mind will think, “I should take a picture of this.”
Kids are kids, and adults in a community should be looking out for each other, not just looking out for Number One.
Instead, we don’t know our neighbors, they don’t know our kids, and helicopter parenting is now the expected norm. If you dare to let your child play on his own without being within a five-foot distance to supervise, you risk losing your children permanently.
Just ask the parents in Florida who were arrested and children taken away when their 11-year-old son played basketball by himself in their front yard for over an hour. In April 2015, he arrived home before his parents, who were stuck in traffic. So he ate his snack, grabbed a ball, and started shooting hoops. A neighbor called the police and the parents were arrested, in front of their children, for neglect.