Friday, August 01, 2008


In the whole scheme of life if you have children, being a parent is the most important job you'll have. When you bring a child into the world you need to be committed to raising him/her to become a productive member of society. You want them to be able to fend for themselves and be responsible for their actions. This requires you to let them make some mistakes growing up. You can't fix everything for them or protect them from every hurt no matter how much you want to. They have to learn from these experiences. I will say this; working in the schools for the last eight years I have seen good parents with great kids, good parents with awful kids and awful parents with great kids so sometimes no matter how hard you try, your kids will go their own way.

You can't make every decision or choice for them. This is another skill they need to learn. If you do it for them they will always be dependant on others. You want them to be able to trust their own judgement. When Kevin was in sixth grade he wanted to quit Boy Scouts. We told him to make a list of the pros and cons as to stay in or not. It was his choice but we wanted him to give it some thought. We also said if he decided to quit he had to call the scoutmaster and tell him. It would be his choice so he had to follow through. Today he is an Eagle scout.

He wanted to know if Blockbuster had a certain video game available, well son, look up their number in the phonebook and call and ask. Didn't do your homework? I'm not writing a note with an excuse. Don't feel like going to your job at Target? Sorry, you agreed to work for them, not blow it off because you want to watch something on TV tonight.Teach your children to be responsible and to take responsibility for their actions whether it be good or bad. We have a strong work ethic and instilled that in both of our boys but there was one time I regret that. Kevin's high school football team wasn't usually a power house but when he was a
senior they had a great year. It was the last game of the season and if they won they'd go to the
championship. Kev was scheduled to work, he wanted to call in sick and go to the game but didn't. I wish that I had told him to go ahead and do that. He's probably forgotten about it but not me. Sometimes fun stuff can trump work.

When you have a child your heart is no longer your own. To see your child hurt, disappointed or sad breaks your heart. One night when Kevin was 10 years old I went in his room for good night kisses and he told me that he wasn't going to get married. I asked why, his response, "no one will marry me, I'm too fat." Now he was a little butterball at that time but I will tell you, my heart shattered like glass. After reassuring him I went into the bathroom, ran some water and cried my eyes out. He eventually grew taller and lost the weight but I'll never forget that. They will find someone who loves them for them. (Thank you Heather) Their triumphs and disappointments are yours too.

The Golden Rule. Treat people with respect and the way you want to be treated.If you want respect you have to give respect. I hope they learned how to treat a woman by watching their father. Be tolerant.Don't make judgements about things and people based on what others think or say. We may all be different nationalities,colors or sexual orientation and have different customs but we are all members of the human race with the same hopes and dreams. I know we've succeeded with that. Both boys have a diverse group of friends from places around the world. The majority of people in the world are good. It's the actions of a few that we hear about. Call me a Pollyanna but that's what I've tried to instill in our boys.

Pick your battles. This is so important. Your child is a person, an individual. You cannot force your will on them for everything. Let them win sometimes. Let them be themselves. It's not the end of the world. When you have an argument,get over it, you don't always have to have the last word. If you knew me you'd realize how profound that last statement is. I've learned that lesson the hard way.

When I was pregnant with Kevin I was apprehensive about the birth. My mother told me that was the easy part, the hard part is the next 18 years. She was so right, it is the hardest job I've ever loved. Did I do everything right? Hell no, not at all. There are things I wish I'd done differently but I'm so proud of the way they are growing into the young men they are. You have but a few 18-21 or so years of your life to raise, guide and teach your child then they're off into adulthood and on their own.The cycle starts again. You can only hope you've given them the tools to survive in the world.

Today we are moving our son Kevin to New York City where he begins his adult life and career as a Registered Nurse at New York Presbyterian Columbia in Manhattan.


Gman said...

Now this post made me cry let me tell you. What a beautiful trubute to life...

Kitten Herder said...

COngratulations, Mom!

Sandi said...

this is an awesome post.
You are an awesome woman. :)

Craze said...

Excellent post, I got goose bumps while reading it. It's all so very true. I've always said if I taught my son one thing it would be the Golden Rule. My son and I are both learning as we walk through this path of life. And I know he's taught me just as much as I've taught him.