This time last week I was having dinner with my family on our “eat out night” on staycation. This particular evening I wasn’t feeling my usual chatty self. I was a little tired and achy from all our fun activities.
I enjoyed sitting quietly and listening to the kids talk to each other about whatever. It’s fun seeing my kids as adults talking about their unique experiences, careers, and what’s next. So if I look relaxed and happy in this picture it’s because I am.
Watching our kids become their own person has been one of the most exciting parts of my life. And you know what? They continue to surprise me with their perseverance, strength, and talents. Not that I didn’t believe great things about my kids, but when life gets hard or their dreams are a little beyond their grasp my kids dig in to get it done. From teens who tried to only partially dust her part of the house on Saturday morning, or who didn’t turn in all of her math homework, or talked her way through freshman biology, these girls learned a few life skills along the way.
And they learned discipline. Dallas Willard wrote about discipline, “The disciplined person, the disciple, is someone who is able to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.”* I think that’s what the kids learned when they left home and took on the responsibility of how their lives would go. I think they scraped up the pieces of what Gene and I tried to teach them and put them together when they needed them the most. Oh, that’s why Mom and Dad told us to do that!
Believe me, I am not taking credit for the wonderful people they have become and I hate that this blog sounds a little braggy. I don’t mean to. I’m processing how my kids became the young adults that sat around the table with Gene and I last Wednesday evening and were so fun to be with.
If you still have kids at home, hang in there. Teach them manners and life skills. Teach them respect by modeling it. Love them in word and deed. Apologize when you mess up (they already know you did). There are no guarantees in parenting, but if you pour yourself into your kids chances are better than most that someday in the future you may find yourself relaxing at dinner with your kids on a Wednesday night and wondering how they got to be such amazing adults.
*Dallas Willard, Living in Christ’s Presence, page 141.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.