For me, one of the hardest things about being a parent is not knowing the impact of our parenting style and the decisions we make today.
We make decisions now about the parenting style we use to raise our kids, the values we emphasize, the tactics to use, and how to support them. We also have the stuff that just happens in life - divorce, sickness, death, moves, job loss, financial problems.
As parents, we must choose the style to use about how to raise our kids and how to handle life's challenges TODAY, often in the moment. But, we won't know the outcome of our decisions for at least the next 15 years when our kids are adults.
Humans have been having children for years. Yes, really. You’d think we would have this down by now so us parents can stop second guessing ourselves. It seems simple enough, right?
A set of inputs (such as personality, homelife, etc) + a set of circumstances = 20 year outcome for child
But, as we all know by now, kids don’t come with a mathematic formula, an instruction booklet, a roadmap, or well...anything else.
Why do I share this with you?
Because, I had one of those days yesterday that I hope, beyond any other hope, serves as a clue in this journey of raising kids that the vision I have for my kids…Kind, happy, contributing grown-ups…just might become a reality.
All three of my boys were kind. Not just for a moment. It wasn’t just a glimpse. It was all day. All. Day
They shared. They communicated. They supported each other. They helped me when I asked. They were kind to me. We hugged. We laughed. We had fun.
No, we weren’t on some special trip. It was just a regular day. I had to do my daily work on my business around them, as usual. We went to the gym. There was a doctor’s appointment. We played in the backyard. Just run of the mill stuff.
Sure, there were a few arguments. My oldest was so exhausted he struggled a bit later in the evening. My 3 year old went into what we call “destroyer mode” around 5...pretty typical, if he didn’t nap that day (which he didn’t). And, my middle kid was...well, I have zero complaints.
But, I just couldn’t help but notice how they treated me and how they treated each other was KIND.
And, I can’t help but hope that this is THAT clue.
That clue that says what I’m doing with my kids everyday right now is leading to my desired outcome of happy, kind adults. A clue that says the focus and intentionality of kindness and respect as a value in our family is working.
As parents, we thrive off these clues. My 3 year old just hit another kid...he’s going to be a bully! My 5 year old can lie to me and get away with it...he’s going to be dishonest! My 7 year old has trouble making friends...he’ll never be happy!
Oh yes, we can take it to the extreme, can’t we? You know what I’m talking about. We look at all these clues and try to make assumptions about who our kids will turn out to be.
The truth is, I can never know if this day is a clue or not. This could be a fluke. This could be a trend.
Who knows? What I do know is that right now, the early morning after, I’m going to bask in the glow of a kind family and breathe in this win.
Because that’s what it is. A win.