You and [your husband] did a great job with your kids in and out.
The top message came from a mentor when I shared with her what transpired during our special family celebration last week. All my 3 children were present, and I was a proud mom, thus I couldn’t wait to share with her photos and highlights during the special event. My quick response to that affirming message was “Thank you. It’s really a big help to be surrounded with godly role models like you”, which came sincerely from my grateful heart.
Early in our marriage, my husband and I decided to select families we knew which we could set as our role models in building our own family. Some of them didn’t even know they were our model. We just observed them from a distance and picked bits and pieces of things they did as a family. Some, we really approached and asked them to mentor us as a young couple.
There were also couples who, along the way, joined us in our journey. We would exchange encouragement and principles in marriage and parenting. Few of them are even younger than us. We would meet for mutual encouragement. These younger couples also helped us in understanding the perspectives of our adult children.
Whatever joys and successes we reap now as parents, it’s not because we were good at it from the start, but because we were intentional in our role sacred role as parents, and we allowed others to help, as well.
There is much to say about our journey in building our family but let me share some important principles that helped us in 28 years.
- Husband and wife must consider carefully what they intend to accomplish as a couple. Early in marriage or even before, they must discuss as a couple their vision for their family, just like having a blueprint or a plan before building a house. Some couples don’t know if they hit or miss because they don’t have a target. If you haven’t done this after years of marriage, it’s not too late to pause, evaluate, and make plans. Set your aim and commit.
- Parenting is partnership between husband and wife. Couples must work together in agreement like a pair of chopsticks or of scissors. Children feel secure when parents are united and committed. Children are sensitive. They feel the unspoken stress and pressure going on between their parents. Children are a by-product of marriage. Couples must focus on their marriage first to build a strong foundation for their family.
- Every home is a training center. It is parents training the children, and children training the parents. We grow in the process with our children. We need to be proactive in learning the right way of parenting. We cannot parent by instinct only or, by default, do the way our parents did. Times are changing. Children’s needs are different from ours in the past. Read books. Attend parenting classes or seminars. Learn from others. Seek out advice and counsel. Look for models and mentors.
- Parents’ responsibility to educate their children does not mean sending them to school only. Many parents are missing the point as they have delegated their responsibilities of training their own children to school or to other people such as relatives or yayas. We may delegate the minor tasks, but we have to keep the major which is training and disciplining our children. The best way to do it is modeling or training by example. Some parents demand standards from their children which they themselves fall short of.
- Parenting is a big responsibility of a lifetime, but it is also an opportunity to learn how to depend on God. Even if the parent is a nonbeliever, I believe there are some moments in life where he or she prayed for his or her child. There was a point when I gave up worrying too much about my children. I was overprotective especially when they were little. After much trying, I realized I couldn’t watch them 24/7. Even if I could, I don’t have all the power to protect them from all forms of sickness and danger. I needed to entrust them to God who loves them more than I do.
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