Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Parents Learn What They Live

There are numerous books and articles about the influence that parents have on their children. My favorite is a little piece called Children Live What They Learn by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D. However, I don't recall ever seeing anything about the influence children have on their parents. I realized fairly quickly after son J. got married that he has always been my encourager and supporter. I can't begin to count the number of times he said to me, in one form or another, "you can do it Mom". Whether he was 9 years old and assuring me that I could make it to the end of the trail we were hiking or, more recently at 23, encouraging me on my endeavor to lose weight, he's always been the one to tell me that everything would be okay or that it was "great" how I did something. When considering a new adventure, life-change, hobby or anything that I felt insecure about taking on, he would be the one saying "go for it". Daughter C. is my sounding board, conscience, and kindest critic. She is the one who will tell me when I'm being unreasonable about something or that my stance on an issue is valid. She's the one I take shopping with me because I know she'll be honest about how things look when I try them on. I've heard everything from "that looks great" or "it's not my style but it's yours and it fits" to "Mom, you're too old to wear that" or just 'Uh, NO!" She helps me keep perspective on things and is always available to talk or to help with anything that needs to be done. There are many things about us that are very similar and we all laugh about her being my "Mini Me". Daughter S. is the humor factor in my life. When she comes for Sunday dinner it is like dinner and a show! She always has stories to tell and can say things in the most comical ways. We truly never know what she will say or come up with next. She'd make a great stand up comedian. She is more adventurous and more likely to question things that I think are "obvious" making me sometimes question them too. She keeps me from taking things for granted and keeps me on my toes. Son B. is the curious, philosophical one. He is the one who started asking questions about life and God that it stretched me to be able to answer - like about free will or divine providence. His questions often required further research on my part to be able to give him something other than a superficial answer that wouldn't satisfy either of us. He's in college now and we don't seem to have those conversations anymore. I miss that - both the time with him and the way those conversations made me think and learn and grow. In their own way, each of my children has enriched and influenced my life - the way I think, the things I do, my priorities. I am grateful to each of them and consider them each a cherished blessing from God.


msdebbiea said...

ahhhhhhhhh....yes! Your words speak much wisdom. I too am at a point in my life where I'm reflecting on son Z. and his incredible influence on me~~God is good, isn't He? We don't often think about learning so much from our children, but when you put life into proper perspective, there is certainly the realization that they too are true teachers. It has been just son Z. and I now, for 8 1/2 years, and he'll soon be leaving to enter into the next phase of his life. Yes, I will miss him, but I'm also extremely excited to see him grow and develop into an independent young man. Thank you, Debbie, for reminding me once again through your very wise words about the lessons they teach us!

Linda said...

Mmmm, yes, we can learn from them if we're aware of the opportunity. Mine continually teach me, esp. the eldest, who is not a lot like me, that different is OK. There is more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak.