Friday, October 15, 2010

A Parent's Role

Today I went for a long hike in the chilly rain at Beaver Lake.  It was beautiful, but after 30 minutes I decided to treat myself to a little ipod since I was by myself.  (It seems I can run for long periods of time sans ipod, but walking doesn't take up as much mental energy, so I get a little restless.) Well, the ipod pooped out after about 15 minutes, so I was again left with the rain and my own thoughts.

One thing that I spent a lot of time thinking about was my kids.  Yesterday a thought crossed my mind that, as a parent, there are certain qualities I want to instill into my children.  Yesterday I did not have enough time to delve any deeper into that, but today it was just the rain and me, so I went for it.

I am a Christian, and, first and foremost, I want my children to know their Creator.  I hope they come to understand the importance of their individual spirituality and having a personal relationship with God. I realize this is ultimately their choice, but I will do my best to teach them about my own faith with the hope that they will come to see the divine power of our God.

Generous Spirit
At first this was just generosity, but then I started to think about how many ways we can teach our kids to be generous.  Of course there is material generosity, and that is important.  But more important, I think, is a generous spirit.  A spirit that is always ready to give in any way, be it a word of encouragement, time, or energy.  A spirit that can sense what is needed and give just the right thing without seeking anything in return.

Acceptance and Respect
I want my children to understand that we are all beautifully and wonderfully made, and that means we are all different.  I hope they grow into people that respect the unique qualities, be it physical, intellectual, or spiritual of everyone around them.  I also hope they grow up learning to respect other's choices, even if they don't necessarily believe in them. Respect and acceptance comes from a place where judgement is left behind, and I want to set an example of this for my kids.

Healthy Balance
This is kind of an obvious one, BUT I hope that my children will understand and live even more than I do, the ideas of balance in health.  Knowing that treats are okay now and then.  Understanding the being fit is more than just exercising, it is a way of life. And recognizing that in order to lead fulfilled lives we must take care of ourselves.

Love for the Outdoors
Every time I go for a run outside or see a beautiful rainbow or admire a gorgeous sunset or stand in awe at the rising of a full moon, I thank God for the beautiful earth He has made.  I hope to instill in my children this love for our world and the beautiful things that are beyond the confines of walls and windows.  I want them to thrill at the sight of something spectacular like a waterfall.  I want them to crave the sound of fallen leaves under their feet.  I want them to delight in a warm sunny day and rejoice when the snow creates a winter wonderland.

As a parent, I sometimes feel I am just floating along dealing with the everyday challenges of parenting two boys.  You know, laundry, helping with homework, violin practice, laundry, snuggling duties, getting small people out of tall trees, making sure Noah doesn't get killed in some sort of pencil accident, laundry...the usual stuff.  However, the older my boys get, I realize I need to be more focused about getting across these important life lessons in everyday ways.  Part of that is through example in my own life, and the other part is subtle (or not-so-subtle) instruction and encouragement.

So, I am making a conscious effort to look for opportunities to share these things with my children.

What are the qualities you want to instill in your children and how do you nudge them in the right direction?


  1. beautifully said Kelly. I love your posts, and am proud to have you as a friend (even 1500 miles away). xoxox Kate

  2. I love this, and I think that your children are lucky to have such a wonderful mother.

  3. Great post! With two young boys, I think about that stuff too. Where there are times when things need to be talked about, I think the key is to show them by our own examples.

  4. Beautiful! Your kids are lucky to have such a caring mom!

  5. I want my kids to learn many of the same things as you, and I try to lead by example. But a lot of it too is talking about these things, like when we're talking a walk, or in the car, or even in the bathtub.

  6. Awesome post Kelly!! You hit the nail on the head! My list is very similar to yours, and one of my big ones is knowing and sticking up for what they believe is right. The big test with boys is sometimes being able to do that without being physically aggressive; even if the other kid is being aggressive.


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