Make the investment
Sometimes I discover myself nostalgic looking at my children’s baby albums and I get teary eyed anytime I read a parenting article about having only 18 summers. Yes, it is true! You blink, and you are signing them for driving ed school. You blink, and you find yourself in a store looking for a prom dress. You blink, and you are reading reviews about SAT courses. Life goes fast and, as much as everyone advises us to cherish every second, my message today is a little different. Today, I invite parents with young children to make the investment (you will cherish this too!).
When our children are little, we have a window of opportunity to make three (and many more) life investments.
- Invest in your relationship with your children. The way your children relate to you now that they are little will affect how they relate to others. In the intimacy of our families, we learn about relationships. Do your children feel unconditionally loved? Do your children know they are worthy? Can they trust you? Are you present? Do you give yourself to them? Are you distracted? Do you really listen? Make the investment now! If you develop a healthy and safe bond now it will provide a safety net for the future. Listen now to the stories about the piece of cake that fell from the table and the teacher said not to eat it.… because you will want to know about the girl who baked a cake for your son when the teenage years come.
- Invest in their character. From the first investment, you may get the idea that it is all about providing for them. Nope! As parents, we need to help them develop character traits. Have clear expectations. Set the bar high. Give them real chores. Teach them to wait. Have them respect their teachers and other adults. It is OK to say NO. It is OK if they don’t get what they want. Develop healthy eating and sleeping habits. Help them to “self-control” and delay gratification. When they are little, it is the perfect time to set the record straight: “You are the parent, you are in charge”
- Invest in their experiences. Create plenty of opportunities to be exposed to enriching activities. Go to the park, visit museums, travel, make new friends, learn another language, surround yourselves with interesting and nurturing people, spend time in nature, develop a hobby, go fishing. Choose a preschool that prepares them for life, where growth is visible.
Make the investment in the foundation. If you want to see a strong building that will persist through the storms that life may bring… Make the investment.
Make the investment in the foundation. If you want to see a beautiful building that brings joy… Make the investment.
Parenting is hard. It requires ALL of you! If you invest, if you love unconditionally, if you set clear boundaries and live enriching experiences, it will pay off.