This year the boys shared a date to prom. J Honestly the two of them make me so happy I cannot stand it! They are such a good team together. Jefferson decided that he did not want to start something new with someone at the end of the school year and Peter asked an old friend from Junior High. The three of them went as friends (although Jefferson said he was just going as the driver). And the report came back that they had a great time together. They took her to the airport and they went to the fancy restaurants there and rode the sky rail.. Jefferson and Peter seem to just make some things work. They have a bit of maturity in these sorts of situations. I think they would both agree that the best part of prom was getting a slick new suit. (as it should be….) :)
I have now raised four kids through high school. The easiest kids were the ones who kept themselves out of relationships and focused on working hard on themselves. How do some kids do that while others simply focus on relationships? I have zero idea to be honest. If you had asked me 10 years ago which set of kids I thought would have been the ones to work on themselves and not have relationships in high school I would have told you my girls. But I would have been completely wrong. Relationships in the young years are difficult to parent. Allowing your teenager freedom to date and make choices in relationships while teaching them to have boundaries and giving themselves time to grow and develop is a challenge. The years when they are young but they feel so old are difficult. The years when it dawns on them that you really do not have magical powers to know when they are sneaking around on you are rough.
I have realized this in life. You will NEVER get rid of all the holes in parenting. It is completely rigged. You will never be perfect, you will never solve all the issues correctly, you will never be able to completely protect your child from everything, you will never be able to make all their choices right no matter how restrictive you are, you will never be able to take the hurt of growing up away. And you will never be able to take the hurt of making bad choices away from them. In fact it might even make you hurt more than it makes them. But bad choices are the best teachers they are just really hard to watch in someone you love deeply. It starts so early in parenting. It starts from allowing your sweet little baby that you love so much to cry to sleep. From that moment on you will be challenged to not solve every single problem. You will be challenged to NOT sweep in and “fix” things for them. Little by little you will have to allow that child to make mistakes and choices on their own. When they are young it will not seem as hard but it is a process. And when adolescence hits it becomes a test in trusting God. There will be some choices they make which you know will negatively impact their life. Trusting that God works all for His good will be something you will have to walk out in your life. This life is messy!
Parenting is about unconditional love. It is about separating your image and self-worth as a parent from your child’s performance. That seems like it should always be separated but once you become a parent you actually think it is your hard work that is making that kid make good choices or behave properly. Somehow we start to believe it is our amazing parenting skills, our good communication skills, and our deep love for God that prevents our kids from behaving a certain way. You may even have a kid or two that proves that in your life and you believe it. I am not saying rules and boundaries should not be taught I am just saying that when and if the child strays from your teachings you will have to fight your feelings of failure. Parenting is about grasping the idea that our failures as parents are opportunities for God to shine His abundant love into their souls. It will rip you up to watch it. It will make you feel like a failure. But if you hold on long enough, giving it completely to God you just may watch a miracle before your very eyes. Or the miracle may come after you have left this earth. I believe our prayers for our children last throughout their lives. Doing our best as a parent means understanding we are not perfect even though there is a desire to be perfect! We desire to be everything our kids could possibly need in life. The only problem with that is that everything they need in life is God. So you will never be everything and you will never keep them from learning that fact about you. Part of growing up is learning that your parents are not perfect.
My last words of wisdom will take you years and years to accept because you will never want to believe me on this but here it is anyway: there is NO formula for raising a life. In fact the ONLY formula I have found so far is LOVE plain and simple. You will strive to follow the ideas given by teachers, psychologists, and mentors but it will never be enough. You will seek out a formula that can guarantee a good result based on another person’s experience but it still will not be enough. I wish I could save you the trouble of looking and searching but I can’t. I think that is part of the process because without the search you would not believe me. But when the search finally comes to an end you will see that it all comes back to love, loving with open arms willing to accept whatever God brings into your life and into the life of the child you love deeply. LOVE is no small thing….