No one prepares us to be parents. We take no courses. We get no official training. We receive no step-by-step guidance. We take no test to prove we are ready or qualified to be parents. Most of our training is from watching our own parents. And since no parent is perfect, our training has also not been perfect.
As parents, we find ourselves making our own mistakes, but deep down we know that the most important thing is to give our children our time, energy, and love. It seems simple, but it's amazing how often we fail to do just that. What's often even harder to remember is that many of the choices we make today will have a definite long-term impact on our own children. How we choose to instruct, encourage, and discipline will all have a profound effect on our children's future lives. Greater still will be the effect of our own example. Far more than anything else, it is through our example that our kids truly learn.
Being there for our children has never been more important than it is today. They are introduced to a constant barrage of sex and violence on TV and in the media in a way that we would never have wanted them to be. The values of our nation and of many of today's prominent role models are deteriorating at a rapid pace. The potential challenges this creates for our children and the damage that it can do to them is immeasurable.
Parenting is much the same as any endeavor: It requires hard work and patience before you can eventually see results. You may not see the effects today or tomorrow. You may not see them next week or next month. But eventually you will see them, and they will be the direct result of our actions. So you have to work hard, and you have to be patient before you can enjoy the rewards. It might help to remember that these investments will someday pay great dividends when you go home from work and see that little boy coming up to you with a baseball bat in his hand, or that little girl who really wants you to teach her how to fish. Try to remember the importance of your investment when your teenager makes a wrong choice or makes mistakes on his journey to adulthood and needs your encouragement, or when your tiny baby seems to do nothing but cry.
Remember that whenever you interact with your child, you're affecting not only him or her, and not only yourself, but the future of us all.
Frank L Vandersloot
Frank L Vandersloot