I wan’t parented. I was bullied through childhood and into adulthood. I only heard my mother say she was sorry one time. My childhood was filled with fear and angst. Being raised this way taught me a lot of things about parenting. In addition to hoping our children would be people of wisdom, character and great faith I have lived with some internal, seldom spoken of goals.
Goal #1. As a parent I place a high priority on happiness. My goal was that my children would have joyful, happy memories, no matter the circumstances, of their childhood. I think kid should enjoy being kids. They should have ice cream all over their face, play dough under their finger nails and endless bicycle adventures. We invested in their eduction but also in their creativity. They had activities and relationships aimed at creating good memories.
We also enjoy our teenagers. I love their laughter and their groups of friends that eat freely from our refrigerator. Their game nights are loud, raucous and crazy. My happiest times are when they have their friends packed into our little house enjoying one another, whether its playing or singing together or enjoying a campfire. As they have turned into young adults we are proud of them and enjoy seeing them reach dreams and become great people. These children of our have turned into some great adults and I hope they are happy.
Goal #2. I want my children to hear ‘I’m sorry’. I’m not particularly good at this but I try. As parents it is difficult to submit yourself to the inevitability that we will be wrong. However, I am convinced that while our mistakes may be epic our ability to ask for forgiveness is redeeming.
Goal #3. My goal is that our children don’t live in fear. I was always afraid of my mother, convinced my next mistake would lead to a beating or other severe consequences. While I think our children need to have healthy respect and good boundaries I didn’t want them to live afraid of me or of others. I want them to enjoy their lives and for other people to enjoy them.
Becoming a parent is a much bigger task than I anticipated but these are some of the internal principles that governed my thoughts as we were raising little ones. I’m not anywhere near a perfect parent but I love these humans tirelessly and undying devotion.