What I’ve Learned from Thirty Years of Parenting

Thirty years ago my husband received an unbeatable birthday gift.  On July 14, 1985, my husband’s birthday, our daughter was born, and we became parents.  As time went on we had two boys to complete our family.  When our last child was born I felt like I had arrived, that I could handle this parenting thing.  Maybe, on a good day.

Our three when they were young

A co-worker told me, accurately and helpfully, that parenting would make our lives more full.  He was right: more full of joy, more full of demands, more full of fun, more full of pain, more full of satisfaction, well, more full of everything.

I often joke with friends that I grew up raising my children; they’ll have to grow up raising their own.  It is a little far-fetched, but there is quite a bit of truth in that statement.

So, here’s a short list of what I have learned over the last thirty years:

I have learned….

That God knows what he’s doing, and…

To let God do it.

That sleep takes second place to a needy child.

That it is far better to let your children be who they are than to try to mold them into someone you want them to be.  (God knows what he’s doing.)

Prayer is by far the best parenting tool.  No question.

That children will model their lives after ours, and so we had better be sure we are modeling truth.

To multitask.  It’s a practical necessity.

To be less selfish and more giving.

Humility.

That sometimes, more often than you think, God will turn your child’s weakness into a great strength.

That being a parent is a role that is never finished.

That we have a seemingly endless capacity for love.  My love is still growing to keep up with our expanding family.  There is no end in sight.

It is a great adventure!

I am so very thankful for my husband, our three children and their spouses/almost spouses, and our two grandchildren.

What have you learned from raising your children or what have you observed in other families?

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8 Responses to What I’ve Learned from Thirty Years of Parenting

  1. Cathy Rogerson says:

    This is a wonderful reminder for all of us! Thank you. I guess if I were to add anything it would be to value the person over perfection and that panic never produces an ounce of peace so trust that God has them even when it looks like the bottom is falling out!

  2. Cathy Rogerson says:

    This is a wonderful reminder for all of us. I guess if I were to add something it would be to value the person over perfection and when your child hits road bumps to stay calm verses becoming stressed. Freaking out never helps!
    Be blessed!!!

  3. Judy, I appreciated this post about parenting more than I can express with words—thank you. My three children are teens now, and everything you said is so true.
    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    • Judy says:

      I’m so glad to hear that this post was encouraging to you. The teen years for my kids were challenging, (aren’t they always challenging?) but it was fun to start observing who they are. The fun continues! Thanks for stopping by and adding your comment. Judy

  4. Leslie Hotchkin says:

    In a nutshell, parenting has taught me…
    I’m smarter than I used to be but dumber than I ever thought I was!

    Still LOVE reading your stuff. When does the Christmas letter book come out? I’m waiting…
    Oh, and the belly dancing class!

    • Judy says:

      Hi Leslie! Yep, that’s been my experience too. Thank you so much for your encouragement. I’ll keep you posted… Hope you’re having a great summer!

  5. Larry Who says:

    The two most important things I’ve learned about parenting is that God listens to the prayers of parents for their children and that I can trust God with my children and grandchildren.

    Great insight. Thanks.

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