I met a young man last year who came to our church with his fiancé now widow. He died last weekend in an avalanche, ice-climbing. Many of my friends got to know and love him while he was here before he moved on to get married and start medical school.
I keep thinking of his young widow, his mother, all those who loved him and valued his life. Why didn’t he value his life as they did? Why didn’t he see how connected he was to them, tied to them with bonds stronger than any rope? Why didn’t he see how devastated they would be with his loss? I don’t know the answer to any of these haunting questions. I just want to say please parents teach your children of their extreme value to you and the world. They are here for a reason. Every life has extreme potential to change the world for good. Since ancient times parents have been training and teaching their children the important values they hold dear.
I am growing to detest the phrase: “He died doing what he loved.” What about those he was extremely connected to? Did they get a vote on this? He was an extremely talented, bright, and beautiful person that the world will be bereft of now. I know anger is a part of grief and my anger will subside to sadness eventually, but while I am still angry I want to challenge parents to use their parental authority to teach children their extreme value. Talk to your children about how important they are to you and the world. Teach them what is important to you; don’t wait for someone else to do it. They may not do it and children need to hear from parents more than anyone else; peers, teachers, counselors, and especially the media. Teach them to love and respect. Teach them to love and respect themselves, others, as well as our beautiful planet. As a person of faith I would add love and respect God. Knowing His love helps me to love extremely others, His creation and myself.
Every stage of a child’s life is a gift. There is something new to discover about my child and myself. There is an opportunity to grow as a person along with my child. I can grow in love, patience, kindness, wisdom, or where ever I need to grow. Even the teenage years are a gift! There are so many negative voices out there regarding raising children, especially about teenagers. Beware the rolling of the eyes and the horror stories that get passed along! There were definitely times when I was challenged and confused, desperate for answers, but I learned to love the challenges my teenagers brought to me, helping me to grow and think deeper about things I had taken for granted. I loved the joy and laughter they brought. I learned to slow down and ask them questions. I learned to not just be upset by their behavior, but to find out what really was bothering them. I learned to be the first one to say sorry, when I had lost my temper out of frustration. This helped break the cycle and start the communication going again. We can find faith and find God in every stage. We can walk with him on this parenting journey. Before you are ready to pull out your hair or worse go to God and ask for help. His promise to us is to give us wisdom in our times of need when we ask. Each child is unique. So there won’t be a book or a person that can tell you just how to raise your child. You can of course learn from books and other people, but read and listen prayerfully with discernment regarding your child. Listen to your own heart because no one knows and loves your child like you do.
How is the stage your child is in now a gift to you?
Do you have a story to share how you discovered a new gift in your child that you had not noticed before?
Anyone have a story of wisdom coming at just the right time?