In Honor of My Parents
In light of Mother's Day (and Father's Day next month), I started reflecting on the things that my parents did right with me in my teenage years. Here are some of the things I am most thankful for:
1. My parents** modeled the life they wanted me to live**. My parents never told me that I had to do something that they weren't willing to do. They didn't say, "Your not allowed to say bad words" while shouting profanity at me. They expected me to show up to events I had commited to, because they kept their commitments. They were leaders in their church and in the workplace, so that I knew how to take on a leadership role in the classroom and with my friends.
2. **My parents opened a line of communication that could not be closed. **There were no real secrets between me and my parents. Sure, I tried to sneak around and get by with things a couple of times, but I learned real quick that my mom could see through my schemes. My parents didn't think that my room was my private space. They owned it and if they needed to go through my stuff to find out what I was up to, then it was their parental right. Teenagers need parents to get in their business. I never went anywhere that my parents didn't approve. My curfew was based on where I was going. They told me "no" when they felt like I was making a choice that wasn't safe for me. But, the best part is that we sat down and talked about these issues together and I was free to ask questions, like "why". They didn't answer "because I said so." They carefully explained their point of view and asked for mine. But, I knew at the end of the day, it was their decision. In turn, I opened up to my parents frequently. I told my mom about my day. I shared most secrets with my parents because they were a safe place.
3. My parents treasured me. My parents were always encouraging me with their words. They told me they were proud of me. They told me I was beautiful. They told me how much they wanted me and how much I meant to them. I never doubted that my parents loved me because they told me all of the time. I needed to hear constant affirmation from my parents so I didn't go looking for it elsewhere.
4. **My parents taught me to love Jesus AND the church. **My parents read the Bible to me at home before I could read. My parents and I sang songs about Jesus at home and prayed together at more than meal and bed times. I didn't just learn to love Jesus, I loved the church. We went to church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, Fridays for choir practice, and any other opportunity we had. I was very active in my youth group, but there was this one time that I wanted to quit because I thought I was getting too old for it. My parents let me know that church functions were not optional as long as I lived in their house, just as school was not my choice. My parents' hard decision to make church the priority over sports and friends caused me to love the church and kept me on track during the most tumultuous time of my life.
Did my parents make mistakes? Of course. Was I perfect? Ha! No! Most people make mistakes when they are teens. Those are the years when we are learning to do life, but we don't have to live in our bad decisions and drag them into our adulthood. There is freedom and abundant life...even for teenagers.
Thanks Mom and Dad for giving me direction. Thanks for coming to all of my games and recitals. Thanks for teaching me how to love and respect others. Thanks for getting in my business when I was trying to hide it from you. Thanks for the long talks. Thanks for not letting me date "that guy" who was up to no good. Thanks for rescuing me from myself when I only thought you were trying to "ruin my life". Thanks for trusting me and releasing me as a young adult so that I could learn to fall and soar on my own. I want to learn from your example as I lead my children through their teenage years.