TERRE HAUTE —
I enjoy watching my children parent their children. My son is the man who, as a child, rolled his eyes each time I told him to take out the trash. Now my son endures eye-rolls from his daughter when she is given household chores. When my daughter tells her son to eat the vegetables on his plate because she “took the time and the trouble to cook them for him so he could be healthy,” I think back on all the times I gave her the same speech, and it makes me smile. When they hug their children and say, “I love you so much I just want to kiss you forever,” I know they first heard that from me.
Not long ago, my daughter called me to ask, “Why didn’t you tell me how hard it is to be a parent?” I laughed and told her she wouldn’t have believed me if I had told her.
Would either of my children have believed me when I told them that babies usually wake up in the wee hours of the morning? (Make that the wee-wee hours of the morning.) How could I have made them understand that their children will never spill anything on a dirty floor, that unbreakable toys are only good for breaking other toys, that they will spend more money on amusements for their child than they did on their education, that a child is nothing more than noise with dirt on it, that poorly raised children always display their pest manners, and that they will learn many things from their children — like how much patience it takes to be a parent?
So now I provide my children with little nuggets of truth to help them survive their own stints at parenthood. I say things like, “If you really want to get your children’s attention, just sit down and look comfortable and they will come to you immediately.” I have even imparted to my children my sure-fire way to get things accomplished: Do it yourself, hire it done, or forbid your kids to do it and stand back to watch them do it.
Seriously, both of my children are very aware that the best thing they can do for their children is to spend time with them. Car trips become song fests. Saturday mornings are spent reading library books. Supper time is spent with each one sharing what has been good about that day.
Recently, I encouraged my children, complimenting their parenting skills, telling them I wish I had had some of the same skills when I was raising them. I reminded them of Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” My son’s eyes filled with tears and he said, “That’s my prayer, Mom.” With my own tears, I told him, “It’s my prayer, too.”
I wonder, what are your prayers for your children and grandchildren?
Verna Davis, speaker and writer, maybe reached at VrdSpeaks@yahoo.com.