My daughter just got home last night from being half way around the world on a mission trip. She was so excited! I loved hearing the stories during the ride home. Some amazing things happened on the trip, and at some point I’m sure I will see the 2000 + pictures she took (no fooling… she doesn’t play around when it comes to the camera).
In a couple days, my youngest son will come home from advanced military training. Now, some of you might be thinking that I threw him in the military to straighten him out (after all, isn’t that what parents do?). Far from it. He chose this route. We talked extensively about it before he went in, and I supported him as a proud (albeit sometimes worried) father. If everything goes the way he wants, he will go back in for more training in a different discipline in another month or so. I’ll miss him when he leaves again, but right now, I will be glad to have him home.
My oldest son (and middle child) just told me about a potential job offer to work with one of the colleges, and he is entertaining some other possibilities all at the same time. Apparently, the people he is meeting with see potential in him. So do I.
I have great kids. Not saying anything about anyone else’s kids. No, you won’t see me with the bumper stickers saying “my kids/grandkids are cuter than yours” or anything like that. I don’t try to throw my kids’ accomplishments in anyone else’s face. I just love my kids.
One of the things that I used to say to my kids a lot was “Thank you”. Particularly my boys… if they are reading this, they are probably smiling right now. My thank you’s were for a specific reason. When we would go out somewhere and see or hear about kids doing bad or stupid stuph (not the fun kid kind of stupid stuph, but the embarrassing, throw yourself on the ground to get your way stupid stuph), I would turn to my kids and say “thank you”. They would look at me puzzled and say “For what?” My response was simple… “For not acting like that”.
In one sense, my kids had a big challenge on their head, because they were tagged as “PK’s” (preacher’s kids). Word around any church water cooler was to watch out for the preacher’s kids, cuz they were the worst, most misbehaved kids around. I was determined that my kids would not be that way. Interestingly enough, it didn’t take much, really. I made it a point to let my kids know that they were just as important, if not more, than anyone else in my life. Simple things like paying attention to them when they had a question. I probably drove some adults crazy, because when my kids would come and ask me something I would stop whatever conversation I was in to answer them. I knew that they only needed me for a minute, but for them, it was the most important minute. I also sought out relationships with people that loved my kids as much as I did. This way, they were getting positive reinforcement, training, and support from many adults. In short, they would see that that level of support was normal. I remember a time when I was growing up where some adults were trying to “encourage” the young people in my group, and their method was to tell them how bad they were, how uncontrolled they acted, etc… The look on the kids’ faces, and the tears afterward told the story… You might think that kind of stuph rolls off, and has no lasting affect, but I tell you… it’s been over 20 years, and I still remember the sting of it, and I’ve spoken to some of those kids years later, and they still do as well.
Now, I am not saying my kids are perfect… far from it. We’ve had some tough times growing up, have battled through some pretty strenuous situations, and have been mad at each other much longer than the sitcom would tell you is the standard. But through it all, we’ve learned how to love deep in the hard times, learned to accept each other in our faults and junk, and we are constantly learning and re-learning how to be in relationship with each other. It’s a whole different thing having conversations with adult children, still remembering when they were 2 and 3 and the “conversations” we would have then. I still laugh when I think about when we were going through tough times financially, and Jon stepped up and said “why don’t you just go to the bank and buy some money?” Oh, if it were only so easy.
I’m proud of my kids. Truthfully, I get this from my mom. No matter where I was in my life, every time I spoke to my mom, she always found something to praise me in. It drove me want to validate that praise. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without that acknowledgement from my mom. I’m hoping that in some way, I’m having that affect on my kids as well.
So, here’s another “thank you” to my kids. Not because I saw someone else’s kids acting up, but just because they are great kids. I love what they have become, and what they are becoming. It’s a fun process to watch, and even more fun to be a part of.
9 Replies to “Kid Stuph about kid stuph…”
Your kids did indeed turn out great, of course, to me, they’ve always been great, intelligent, well-spoken and very grounded. … Now if they can just teach you how to spell S-T-U-F-F
Haha, Dave, I suppose i’ve been hooked-on-phonics for too long 🙂
Ken, I love this post! I can definitely identify with the feelings you have about your kids and the “thank you’s”. I was a single mom for the first 6 years of my son’s life and since it was just the two of us, I talked to him a lot. In fact when my husband met him, he thought that my son could communicate his feelings better than any other 6 year old he had ever met :^) It was very important to me to reinforce the positive and to make sure he knew that there was nothing in this world that he could not do if he put his mind to it.
I feel that one of the most important gifts we can give to our children is the gift of a positive self image. If they have confidence in themselves and their abilities, then they have a better chance of standing up against peer pressure. If they feel confident in who they are, they won’t feel the need to do things that may not be in their best interest just to gain approval and acceptance.
I think that having you as their father, your kids can’t help but be great – they have an amazing role model!
Christie, what you gave your son is invaluable. Giving our kids confidence in who they are, reinforcing their self is so important. And thanks for your vote of confidence 🙂
Brother mine: I met you and your beautiful family just two short years after the first posted picture was taken. And, yes, I remember how you’d stop any conversation to respond to them. I also recall that they were secure in your love and attention so were willing to wait as long as they possibly could before they interrupted. Truly an amazing example of a father’s — and our Father’s — love! So, go ahead and brag on ’em! You’ve got to know: they’re braggin’ on you, too! I love the lot of ya!
By the way, if this looks familiar, I posted this comment on fb. I wanted to write something else here, but the above still seems my (current) best offering. 🙂
Sis, I love how much you remember about my family, and how much you love us all. You are one of those that lived and encouraged my kids, often without them even knowing. Your prayers were powerful in their lives, and I thank you for that.
Great post! Your kids are super lucky to have a dad like you who loves them so much. I feel the same way about my kids–I always say being mom is the best job I ever had. I love your “thank yous” to them, so sweet and so important. (You’re so lucky to have had such a positive mom…I envy that.) Thanks for a positive post about kids and parenting, we need more of these in blogland! p.s. glad I found you via Fear of Writing
Thank you so much Julia. You are so right – there is nothing better than being a parent. I’m enjoying each stage of their lives, and it makes me appreciate my mom all the more.