I wanted to share these 5 things the kids will always remember with you today. Those things that they will look back on and remember that lesson that they learned from you, without even knowing it.
So many times, we, as parents, put our time and effort into teaching kids to follow the rules, etc… but we miss these huge opportunities of just encouragement. We miss opportunities to let our kids SEE what they should be doing. (teach by example). That is when it is important to remember that we should stop to think about what our kids will really remember.
Here are some things that I remember my parents doing… that I now try to do with our children:
I appreciate that my parents were transparent.
They were open with us and told us that life has its struggles, but showed us how to get through it. They told us that there are two sides to every situation, that there is a “gray” to life that is ok to wrestle with. This opened up so much communication, provided a lot of perspectives, and made it ok when we had questions. We could ask them and they would answer them. It also set expectations. We helped install a confidence to move forward, knowing that there are inevitable complexities to life. That in itself is freeing.
I appreciate that my parents celebrated well.
Whether it be a birthday or a simple holidays, we found reasons to celebrate. I love the fun socks on Valentines Day, the special Christmas traditions, and the made-to-order birthday dinners. They always celebrated well and these memories are some of my favorites. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be memorable.
I appreciate that my parents made family dinners a priority.
I’ve only appreciated this looking back. It was more of an assumption that we all had dinner together in the evening. They were intentional check-ins. We had conversations around the dinner table, every night (No TV allowed).
I appreciate that my parents valued communication.
Open lines of communication are huge. Something that I wouldn’t trade for anything but is not always fun in the moment. When your kids have a question, answer without judgment. They will then come to you as the questions get more complicated.
I appreciate that my parents illustrated an authentic marriage.
They were true and they showed us how much they cared for one another. They were kind and had fun spending time together. If they argued, we also watched them talk through it and hug afterward. I think that helped me more, to see them work through an argument than if they had the “closed door heated discussions.”. I saw that conflict was inevitable but that it was worth talking through and loving each other all the same. That is the example that I want to see.
As parents, we don’t have to be perfect. We need to focus on the people that matter and give ourselves some grace. Most importantly, remember that our kids learn much more through what we do than what we say.
I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.