Imagine my surprise when our son who is deployed in Afghanistan with the military, sent this email to me for Mother's Day. I feel blessed to have children who can express their thoughts succinctly through written words.
See Part Two on June 3rd.
In lieu of a Mother's Day card I decided to write an email. Feel free to share this with Dad since it applies to him as well.
Ten Things My Parents Did Right
1. They didn't plan their lives around us.
Some kids grow up being told they are the center of the universe. We did not have to learn this important lesson when we went out into the world to earn our way. I have seen adults in their twenties still learning this lesson and they can't seem to understand why life is so hard.
My parents followed their hearts and went where their talents and abilities would be best used to make a difference in the world. We understood that we were along for the ride and moving to a new place was not the end of the world.
2. Education wasn't just for school.
My parents made sure everything at home was an education on top of the home schooling. We were constantly being stimulated intellectually by visiting missionaries, evangelists, and engaging conversation between our parents. The variety of things we were involved in was a learning experience and we knew everything was a chance to learn and grow.
3. They affirmed us.
"That's a great idea" was something that made you feel free to explore and gave you confidence that you were worth something as an individual. We knew we were unique, and our parents made sure to affirm that idea often.
Some kids grow up with an inflated view of self-worth and parents don't understand the difference between telling your kids how good they look vs. how special they really are in the eyes of God and our family. There is nothing wrong with telling your daughter she is beautiful but that was not the most important thing, and your character and personality mattered more.
The quick way to get the positive attention of our parents was to display a good character quality and do the right thing. Honesty and integrity were valued and affirmed often. We knew that it was better to do the right thing even at high personal cost than to take the easy way out and hope that nobody noticed.
4. They taught us life isn't fair.
I clearly remember being so agitated when I was told this by my parents growing up, but it was true every time. Life is not fair and facts don't care about your feelings. I feel bad for kids who don't learn this valuable lesson at an early age.
There were times when I felt that a sibling was given special treatment, or I was not getting treated fairly but this was a valuable lesson for the workplace and life in general. Life has not been fair to me at all, but I understood that at an early age and have been able to recover from my setbacks by accepting them and moving on.
5. They didn't give us the latest technology.
We grew up without a TV and had to use our imaginations and learn to interact with those around us. I still remember when Dad bought a Tandy 1000 computer that was a few years old but the time you could be on that was limited by the rest of the family waiting to take their turn. Listening to books on tape and audio presentations helped keep our young minds engaged and not worried about beating the high score on a game that would be outdated in a few years.
See Part Two on June 3rd
Any comments? Feel free to add yours below.