After being married 10 yrs, working still on raising three daughters, and having soon to be 37 years under my belt, I have learned a few lessons. Some the hard way and some through watching others.
1. While not everyone does this, the truth is most people play games when dating. I never understood this concept and I still don't. So as a result, I know I HATE dating. We don't encourage it in our home for multiple reasons - the first being we believe that God can help our daughters find a better husband than the world today. And second, if our daughters are like Chris and I then what you see is what you get and they won't do well with the whole "dating game" either.
2. Every race and culture has people who will make that them proud AND those who will make them shake their heads in shame. It's a fact - no matter what color your skin is, there is always some idiot out there who will ruin it for the rest of us. Sorry.
3. Don't judge others. The mom you see in the grocery store whose child is screaming - if you are young please listen to this one thing I say very hard. If you are the one judging, just remember it could easily be you in a few years. I learned this lesson the hard way. I used to be the college student in the store shaking her head at the mom whose child was misbehaving. Now I have children of my own and it's not as easy as it looks. Sometimes children have meltdowns no matter how hard you work to keep them happy.
4. If you want your spouse to learn how to treat you - try being the example. Don't nag, just love him the way you want him to love you.
5. Children are an investment. You get from them what you choose to put into them. If you want your child to do well in school, work with them and encourage them. We have a wall of fame on our fridge. First, it was all Sarah, but as time has gone on and Elizabeth is improving her stuff has been up there a lot. Rebekah even gets her stuff put up - even though she is three right now.
6. If you want your children to have good manners - set the example and start young.
7. Cleaning your house is important (after all no one wants bugs or mice), however, so are the kids. Remember you get out of your kids the amount you invest in them. I have a girlfriend who grew up with a home cooked meal every night and a super clean house, but she doesn't have any memories of her mom playing with her or her siblings. They all have issues even now with that parent.
9. No matter how much you don't like confrontation when it comes to your kids you will do almost anything.
10. A college education is fine and good, but sometimes life experience is a good teacher too. I have learned a lot from books, but I have also learned from life about people.
11. While taking care of yourself is all well and good, more often than not there are times when you have to take one for the team. This tends to be even more true when you have children by the way. Just be careful that you don't take one for the team so often that when the team moves out you become super selfish. I have seen this happen.
12. As the parent of Elizabeth I gave up on babysitters for a long time, because most people don't know how to handle a child with autism. It stinks, but it's true.
13. When it comes to children with special needs, I have run into three types of people so far.
First, there are those who are overly harsh and judgemental and will make your life as miserable as you let them. Second, those who don't know quite what to make of your child so they keep a distance (I prefer them to the first kind). And finally those who love your child for being your child and think they are great. The last kind are a true God-send and be thankful for them - it's tough to find them. Especially in churches today. Since Elizabeth was born we've attended three different churches. The first two were not a good match for us, because they could not understand Elizabeth except for a few exceptions. Ironically, we've had less issues at First Church in Wichita, and Westside. Those two churches were great with Elizabeth and accepted her; flaws and all. First Church just happened to be too large for us. But we've found a good church home at Westside Church of the Nazarene.
14. I don't have all the answers and that's okay. It doesn't mean I won't research to find out what I don't know, it just means that sometimes you don't have to have all the answers.
15. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and listen to what others have to say. Sometimes it's quite amusing - sometimes you find out how amazing some people are and sometimes they are amazingly ignorant. Tweens and middle schoolers are a good example of this. They want to have all the answers and so they always have to have something to say about everything. Sheesh, the messes I've had to clean up because my child thinks she knows what she is talking about.
16. Figure out what your weaknesses are and own up to them. I am not good at balancing a check book. If you need someone to sing in front of a stadium full of people come see me. What you have a research paper to write and don't know where to begin? Call me, I'm your girl. Wait, what you need your checkbook balanced - Oh sweet wonderful husband of mine - someone needs your assistance. Or better yet, go find a good accountant because I am not your girl.
I know that I love my children, but I don't necessarily love other people's children. It's not all children I don't like - it's the rude, disrespectful, and undisciplined children I have serious issues with.
17. Sometimes there is no happy medium. Sometimes you have draw a line and remain firm - no matter how much it breaks your heart to see your child unhappy. Sometimes you have to love your child enough to be firm and stand your ground.
18. It's important to be able to tell your children you are sorry if you make a mistake. How else with they learn to tell others they are sorry when they make a mistake. It's tough and pride buckling sometimes, but it's a good lesson for everyone involved.
19. Women tend to be better at talking it out than men. But we aren't very good at remember that men don't read our minds. My husband will tell you openly, he flunked ESP 101. So I have to be sure I tell him what I want. And yes, sometimes I have the conversation in my head and forget to have it in real life. Come on ladies, you all know you've done it too. You have a good idea or a plan in your head of what needs to happen but forget to tell your spouse.
20. Sometimes all people need from you is a hug and a listening ear. They don't need answers or advice, they just need you to listen to them so they can get it out of their system.
I've learned a lot more, but for now that's all I have to share. I hope you all have a good week.
Love in Christ,