Monday, March 24, 2014

No Regrets: The Things I Did Right

I have seventy-five blog posts up now. Most are connected to autism or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. A few have nothing to do with either. In December I wrote a blog post called “Regrets” and to-date it is my most read post. I suppose that should tell me something. You can read it here: This post is a follow-up to that one, a sort of contrast. In the former post I spoke of the things I would do differently. The following are some of the things I would do exactly the same.

One of the things I do NOT regret is that my children have often heard, “We will have to ask Daddy”. My kids have grown up knowing that Dad was “in charge.” If I wanted to spend a large sum of money then I had to okay it with their dad. If the kids wanted to go somewhere I was unsure of, we waited to ask their Dad.  When occasionally one of the kids asked me “not to tell Daddy” it wasn’t going to happen. I share everything with their daddy. This, I do not regret. Candace Cameron-Bure wrote a blog post recently that rocked Hollywood. She said she was submissive to her husband and explained why. The media tried to make Candace look ridiculous over this. Being in submission to your husband is not something to be embarrassed about.

I also do not regret waiting three years after we were married to start our family. Shawn insisted that we needed to have some time alone before we added kids. It was a really good idea. It gave us so much time to plan and talk about what we each expected and hoped for, as well as save a down payment for a home. The first three years I worked and we saved my paycheck. We used Shawn’s paycheck to live. We always planned for me to be a stay-at-home-mom and it was much easier to do with the house already purchased and a budget set in place. Shawn has worked two jobs most of our married life and I have done some daycare off and on for many years so that I did not have to work outside the home. It is not possible for every mother to stay home with her children and not every family desires to structure their family this way. Some of the best moms I know work full time. I do not believe it is wrong for a mother to have a career but it was not for me and I have no regrets.

I do not regret that I insisted my children do chores and learn how to clean the house. I do not regret that I taught them how to load and unload a dishwasher, sort laundry and start the washing machine, run the vacuum, mop a floor, and clean a toilet. I do not regret that they were making cookies and other “messes” in the kitchen at a fairly young age. I do not regret that they have all had to mow lots of grass in the summer and rake lots of leaves in the fall. I do not regret that my sons have gone to work with their Dad and learned how to use tools. I do not regret that my older children had to take care of their younger siblings occasionally and even help them with their homework. I have no regrets about having a large family and doing without a few “extras” because of it.

I do not regret showing my children what love looks like. When I was growing up I had wonderful parents who showed affection to each other often. As a small child I remember squeezing in-between my folks often when they were sitting close together. As an older child I remember saying, “gross” when they kissed in front of me. There was never a doubt in my mind that my parents loved each other very much. My children have grown up seeing affectionate parents too. Of course, we are not inappropriate, but often show our love for each other. We hold hands, kiss, give hugs, sit close, and say sweet things to each other in front of our children. Until recently, it never occurred to me that other parents are not doing this. Our kids are telling us differently. Many of their friends have reported to them that they have never seen their parents show affection to each other. This astonishes me. I will never regret teaching our children what a strong marriage looks like. I love that my children know that I am “crazy in love” with their dad. 

Bible Camp!!
I do not regret all the times I sent my kids to a church related activity when they wanted to skip it. A few years ago I listened to a man lamenting about his young adult son who had stopped coming to worship services. He was wishing there was something he could do. I kept thinking the whole time: “the time for ‘doing something’ was a long time ago.” I was remembering all the Bible camps and youth rallies the boy had been invited to. He did not “like” to go to those things; he did not “want” to go to those things; so his parents did not SEND him to those things. His parents did not neglect his physical health, his academic education, his sports practices, or his hygiene. Why then did they let him make his own choices when it came to those spiritual activities? Not all of my children have “liked” the rustic Bible camps we have taken them to but they went anyway because their parents chose for them to go. They grew spiritually because of their experiences there. I can also remember how “inconvenient” it was for their dad to set aside a Saturday to take our oldest to a youth rally in Kansas City. He did it anyway. The Bible camp the kids attend faithfully every summer is at the most inconvenient time for their dad’s HVAC business but he takes a week off and goes with them. It sometimes comes at the risk of losing customers. He’s done this since our oldest was nine years old. I cannot count the number of gospel meetings we’ve been to or hosted at our own congregation. These things were very important for the training of our children. We do not regret all the time, travel, and money involved in this! This is something we did right. Young parents: Do not neglect your children’s spiritual health. Look ahead and picture them as strong Christian adults and think about what it will take to make that happen! Take advantage of Christian camps, area-wide singings, gospel meetings, and youth rallies! Your child may meet their best friends there.

I do not regret all the school events and sporting events we missed to attend Wednesday evening Bible class. The message we sent our children every time we missed a school band concert, vocal concert, or school sporting event was that God is more important than anything else. Every time our kids had to explain to the director of the school play or their coach that they would not be available to practice or perform on Sundays or Wednesday evenings, helped them to realize what kind of a commitment it takes to be a Christian. 

I do not regret all the school events we said, "no" too. We told our children from a very young age they would never be attending school dances. The girls would never be going out for cheerleading or any other activity that would require them to dress immodestly. Because we told them BEFORE those opportunities arose, the kids already knew they did not even need to ask. Of course many of their friends thought they were being so mistreated because they did not attend dances or go to the school proms. I don't think my kids missed out on much and I don't think they even believed they were missing out on much by the time these things came around. Children need to learn how to live in the world without being a part of the world. It can be done. 

2002 Visit
I do not regret insisting our children attend a Christian University, the most conservative Christian University we could find. We began to tell our children when they were toddlers that they would be attending this University. We took them there as young teens and they became familiar with the campus. We did not let them choose where they were going if we were going to pay the tuition. What are our reasons? We want our children to spend their first years away from home under the guidance of Christians, surrounded by like-minded peers. We want them to be at a place where the majority of students and all their teachers attend the Church of Christ. We want our children to be at a university where their classes begin with a prayer, where they begin their school day with the singing of hymns and a devotional in a worship setting. We want them to be able to go to their professors with religious questions as well as academic questions and get the correct answers. We want them to be in a place where they are privileged to have teachers like Dan Winkler and Loy Mitchell. 
2012 Graduate
 We want them to be at a place where temptations are fewer (not non-existent, but fewer.) I know they eventually have to be out in the “real” world (but better at 22 than at 18.) I know the tuition is double or triple that of a state school or a junior college. I know that we will potentially be repaying student loans when we are also paying for our nursing home (HA). This is not a post judging what YOU do or have done but a post about the things I do NOT regret verses the things from an earlier post that I DO regret.  I am not trying to bash state schools or upset anyone and hope that I do not. I have many relatives and Christian friends whose children are at State Universities.

These are some of the things I do NOT regret. These are the things I believe we have done right so far. Thanks for reading. You might also like to read: Don't Blink

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