Well, we have completed the task. Both kids through high school and now off to college. This has been 21 years in the making – at times it felt painfully slow and at others like it was moving at lightning speed. Our family has talked about this time and we have decided that it is like completing book 1 in a series – and now we are all writing our spin off books going forward. Each of our sons is writing his own story. My youngest told me this weekend that he could not give me a book title until the end…so I guess we have to wait on that!
Anyway, I have been thinking about the next chapter for me. What does that look like? Now that I no longer have young boys at home to teach and guide them daily – what do I do outside of work and how does this “mentoring” relationship as a parent continue? What do I have left to teach them? I sure felt like I crammed all I could into their 18 years at home.
I have always believed in a joint teaching style, meaning book knowledge and experience together. Not one or the other. Sometimes the best learning comes in the form of field trips. And much of what our kids (or those around us) learn is by watching what we do. With that in mind, here is how I plan to continue to teach my kids.
1. Life does not stop when one season of your life is over. I will continue living and thriving and being joyful with my spouse to show my kids that it is possible. Even with the loss of day to day physical interaction with my boys, my life is still rich and blessed and wonderful, and I will show them that. They can have this hope too!
2. The next opportunities in front of them can be daunting – and a little scary. Same for me. Sometimes the next big thing for me is hugely scary. I will do it anyway. Because I want them to have the courage to do their next big thing through the fear.
3. Life is too short not to show love, mercy and grace to myself. I will love this mind and body that God has given me. I will not diminish it or complain about it. I will be thankful. I am human and mess up – and I will show grace to myself and work to do better. But I will love God and myself in this process! I will speak to myself in love. When I do this – I can then show grace, mercy and love to others because my day to day thinking will be kind and loving and I will have an abundance to pour out on those around me who desperately need it.
4. I will meet new people and journey with them to broaden my understanding. There are so many people in the world – and they are not just like me. They have had life experiences and lived in areas that have shaped their understanding. My goal will be to understand them then work to be understood. I will teach the boys that it is fine to continue broadening their thinking – and meeting people is a cool way to do that (travel too)!
5. I will work to make the people and places I interact with better than when I met them or visited. I will be a giver not a taker.
None of these things can I do of my own accord or inner strength. All of these things I can do by loving God who will give me the heart and strength. My dependence is on Him, not me. That is the biggest lesson I would love to teach my boys….as they watch me. This is the inheritance I want to give them. And I promise you parents, your kids are still watching. No matter how old they are! What are you teaching them?
Love you my boys!