Parenting 101

This week, I only went on a couple walks and they were neither for time nor distance. Ha. I did ride the bike again. Each day I am feeling a little better and a little stronger. This week our weather is supposed to be decent the first few days . . . getting into the 60’s even. I will definitely walk those days. Then it is supposed to get cooler again and I’ll see how I feel outside and I’ll walk if it doesn’t make me cough. I didn’t weigh on Monday. Honestly, we had a very sick puppy for almost a whole week and I was consumed with taking care of her and really didn’t think about it. I will weigh tomorrow, though, and will let you know next week how that ends up. I did well over the last week eating and such so once again, I am hoping for good things on the scale.

My youngest son, Franklin (Tank as we affectionately call him), turned 16 this past week. I don’t have any idea about how in the world my children have grown up so quickly. It just happened. But I wanted to share a story with you because it really relates to all of us in a lot of ways. I had asked Franklin’s permission last week to share this story. He gave me that permission and then I changed my mind. But something happened just today when we were out eating after church and it reiterated my point so I decided to share it with you this week. FYI: the permission from Tank still stands. Let me go back in time a little before I share about Franklin. I remembered something from when our boys were much younger. My oldest son, Benjamin, was maybe 8 or 9 and Tank was 5 or 6. We were at a wrestling tournament and Ben and his friends came wandering by a group of us moms as we were sitting there in the bleachers watching all the kids wrestle. I remember thinking, and even said out loud to one of the moms, “Are we ready for all of this?” I was talking about the things that they were inevitably going to get into . . . the trouble; the good; the bad; the tense; the important; the insignificant; the heartache . . . all of it. Those late night (or not so late night) shenanigans that would most likely end in a phone call to a parent; you know the kind of phone call that would land a kid in trouble. Were we ready for that? I determined then that as a parent bad things were going to happen with our kids and that it was all just part of the growing process and learning how to be a decent human in the world. Now, today at lunch, Wade, Tank and I were sitting at a table and two young adults (maybe they were 17 or 18 but not much older than that) came into the restaurant and were seated just behind where we were. Their language, volume, and topics of conversation were NOT appropriate in the least. These two garnered looks from people all across the restaurant. As we were getting into the car Franklin asked me to make a PSA on Facebook for him – If he was ever out anywhere and someone we know heard him talking or acting in that manner they had permission to slap him straight. His words, not mine. I told him then that I was very proud of him for even thinking that as we hadn’t even discussed anything about the two fellow patrons yet. That reminded me of the story I wanted to share last week and changed my mind about. So, here it goes.

Franklin is a smart young man. I mean smart, now. As he will tell you, our frustration with him is found in the fact that he doesn’t apply himself to things . . . you know, school work and the like.  He has vacillated on college more than once. He has thought about the military as well as a trade school/vocational training. He is absolutely LOVING welding and was really, REALLY disappointed this semester when he couldn’t get into the Construction Science class our High School has for our students. Starting in his middle school years and continuing on, our discussions with him travelled through different phases . . . from, “Let’s get those straight A’s, okay, bud? You’re more than capable!”, to, “Franklin, please, PLEASE just do what you need to get your grades to a decent level so Mom and Dad feel good about letting you play sports,” to what happened during the Covid remote learning, “Bud, please just pass.” Now, again, he really isn’t interested in attending college and that is okay with Mom and Dad. But we keep encouraging him to do the best he can to give himself the grades he would need to enter college if he should change his mind and want further education in a college or university setting. Well, this last semester, we found ourselves very disappointed with a couple of his grades and then I learned that he had made a choice or two outside the classroom that weren’t necessarily the wisest choices. Nothing life changing, but not what we had taught him about what was good and right. He came home from lunch one day and I really kinda unleashed on him after I saw the grades and had heard about the choices I mentioned. I lectured him about choices and decisions and truth and good and ALLLLLL the things I found fitting in the moment. He is such a tender hearted kid. He really is. And I love that about him. He teared up. I cried. And then he left to go back to school and I knew I had ruined his day, and mine, too. He hadn’t been gone for 30 minutes and I got a call on my cell that came up as Brush High School. Certain that I was going to hear from someone on the other end of that call about his grades, or choices, or SOMEthing else that would further upset me, I let the call go through to voicemail. It was a teacher who wanted to tell me just how much she had enjoyed his presence in her class the previous semester. She said, and I am looking at the voicemail transcription now to get the words right, “. . . I am just calling you about Franklin. I wanted to tell you what a good Christian he is. You’re raising an excellent son. He was in my class last semester and there were a couple of boys who always wanted to do the freshman thing of fighting with each other but he did a really good job of modeling to them and helping them to make good decisions and I just wanted to give you another reason to be proud of your son . . . ” When I listened to the message, I cried. 

I was reminded that in life, it’s not our decisions that define us. We are all going to mess up. Some of us mess up big. Some of us mess up small. It really doesn’t matter how big or small. We have always told our boys that one stupid decision could change or ruin the rest of their lives. And while that is true, that decision doesn’t define you. The most important things are found outside of those decisions. Are you respectful? Do you consider others first? Are you putting God and the first things FIRST in your life? Are you striving to be a good person . . . better than you were the day before? Those are the things that matter. I apologized to Franklin when he came home after school that day. I played that message for him and we both cried. This parenting crap is hard. It’s REALLY hard sometimes. And I never knew how much you could want things more for your kids than you ever wanted them for yourself. And I also never thought I would expect more from my kids than I did from other people’s kids, but I do. And I also worried constantly whether or not I was giving both my boys what they needed to be good humans. That is the point, after all, right? And I don’t remember when I realized that both of them really are good humans. But for whatever reason, I forgot. I forgot that Franklin is a good kid. He really is. And I forgot all those times when people would send me texts or messages on facebook about him and his easy-going personality and his decency in opening doors for people, or sitting at the ball field talking to someone’s grandpa when he was on his way to sit with his friends, or having a conversation with friends and using good language and volume and appropriate topics. I forgot. And I apologized to Tank for my lapse of memory. And he apologized for his part in his choices and we both promised to do better.

What I am hoping to convey is simply this: We are responsible for raising our children to be positive, contributing members of society. But we also are responsible for giving them the opportunity they need to prove to us that they are capable. We have to allow them the space to grow and become who THEY are going to be; not who we wish for them to be. I am proud of my kids. You know, the good kind of proud. Not for what I have done. But for who they are becoming. I am speaking to the parents out there reading this. Relax. You’ve got this. You are the most important person in their life. They do listen, even if you don’t think they do. Nothing is going to turn out how we expect it to turn out. And that is okay. It will turn out how it’s supposed to turn out. Our job is to love them hard and help them love themselves and others. Our world could use more of that every day. They are worth it. So, SO worth it.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

4 thoughts on “Parenting 101

  1. Well Lacy, you made me cry. As I have told Wade and you many times, you have raised wonderful young men. Your words brought back so many memories for me, when I was raising our children. You are absolutely right, it is so worth it! Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry I made you cry but glad that you can feel what I’m trying to say! I love you. Thank you for the compliment. I really appreciate it. I have some wonderful “parent” role models … you included … that showed some great things to do as parents! Love you.

      Liked by 1 person

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