Count me convinced – grandparenting is the reward for having survived the years of parenting. Now that’s not to be interpreted as a negative toward parenting, becaue being a parent is one of the most challenging and important and crucial and rewarding tasks of life.
Not all of of our parenting decisions were wise, but we could speak from experience. We had been teenagers and remembered the lessons our parents taught us. Somehow that didn’t always merit immediate acceptance of our family rules for our own children.
When Eli got his driver’s license and he and Tahya advanced to another grade during their high school years, they automatically assumed curfews would also reflect the promotions. Didn’t happen!
Curfews were negotiated through their teenage years but never to the degree that they wanted. They never liked to hear clichés like “You’ll understand when you have teenagers of your own,” but I knew that someday they’d appreciate our intentions.
Teaching respect was another goal Othel and I set for parenting. That had to begin in the toddler years, but the real tests came in the teen years.
I felt qualified in this area because of one memorable night that I had failed in my own teenage years. During my high school days there were no cell phones, computers, Facebook ,or Twitter, but I still managed to “Twitter” hours away when it was time to go to bed. My bedroom light stayed on longer and longer until Daddy would have to shout across the hall, “Time for lights out, Camille.”
On this one memory-marked night, my diary was running longer than usual and in the middle of serious writing Daddy shouted, “Camille, your light!” Without a respectful thought I semi-shouted, “You’ll have to talk to Edison about that.” I still recall the night so vividly and have laughed often about such an astute reply. However, I still recall the immediate desire to grasp those words and trash them, but it was too late. The trash was out, soon forgotten by my parents but permanently engraved in my memory.
The shame didn’t stop there. Daddy’s voice crossed the hall and said in a calm gentle tone, “That doesn’t sound like my little girl.”
One of the Proverbs says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” It can also produce respect and repentance. I fell asleep on my pillow that was wet with tears of conviction and repentance.
This generation of parenting has escalated to unbelievable challenges, but God’s word is filled with parenting guidelines equipped for the challenges. We just have to know it and walk in it to reap the rewards.