We have three really great kids. I say that with extraordinary gratefulness and without an ounce of pride that would be seated in some sort of that’s because we really no how to parent correctly hubris.
Kymra and I are pretty honest with each other – and everyone else – about the fact that we’re pretty much making this whole parenting thing up as we go. We can say with certainty that our children are well-loved and well-fed (save the fact that we have one that doesn’t eat anything made out of food). We can also say with certainty that we’ve made truck loads of mistakes along the way – too many times I’ve sought one of my kids out to tell them that I was wrong and needed their forgiveness.
I’m certain that we’re a comedy of errors but we’re sold on the comedy. We’re now navigating the world of Facebook with a young teenager. Twice in the last week I’ve told my oldest to take down posts. She was very innocent in what she put up but both provided teachable moments. One had to do with what could be perceived as pridefulness the other could have been the public airing of a grievance in virtual forum (definitely against our family code). I was thankful for both opportunities to talk through the why of it all.
We’re doing what we can to keep our middle child at an only moderate level of computer game addiction. I think we would prefer that the games weren’t an obsession but love having the lever of abstinence there to pull whenever necessary. It is very effective.
On the little one, we just want her to like us when we’re old because we think she might be really smart.
What is true is that none of our children are like we were. They are their own little creatures and I am a sponge for wisdom on how to raise them. We’re realistic that we will miss on a number of things but we’re hopeful about the fact that we are privileged to have a lifetime of relationship with them.
I don’t want to miss anything in 2012. Our kids are at fun and inspire-able ages, all of them. These are the things that we’re trying to do.
Being Present – It sounds a little too simple. My friend, and one of my mentors, Gary Dunahoo challenged me on this one time as we were discussing the amount of time I was on the road versus the time that I had at home. He asked, “Are you there when you’re there?” It was a good question and I didn’t like the answer that was ringing in my soul. I like the answer now.
Being Absolutely Intentional - Going after everything – every teachable moment – squeezing the marrow out of it. The opportunities to teach, learn together and live life together with our kids self-present every single day. We don’t want to miss any.
Having Fun - It sounds a little trite and maybe too simple, but it is the core of our parenting strategy. There’s not much to it either. I’ve been taking each of our kids out on dates whenever possible. My boy, Sam is a funny kid. He’s trying to feel out the territory between his goofiness and his seriousness. We’re trying to parent him to the middle on both. He and I went out a few weeks ago. It didn’t seem like we talked much. I tried to dig into a few things with him. The planes of conversation were kind of circling but not really landing if you know what I mean. As we finished up, Sam looked at me and said, “You know, I think we should do this more often, Dad.”
I don’t necessarily know how to define world class parenting. Further, I can’t even come close to forecasting how my children are going to turn out. I just know that we count it the deepest privilege to raise each of them and, for me, the joy of my life to do so with Kymra. We’re making mistakes by the gross, we know it. But we live under a lot of grace as we give it our best.