It’s an awesome thing the day you wake up to the realization that you are a grandparent, isn’t it? Maybe you have suddenly found yourself in the role of THE grandparent, the senior member of the family, and the one who should have the answers to the questions, right?
If you are like me, this is also the day that you wake to the realization that you just might not have done it all as right as you thought you did or even as you tried to do. Somewhere in between racing from work and school to football practice, to dance class, to cooking dinner, to cleaning house, to telling them not to talk with their mouth full, to calling out spelling words, and making sure they were in by curfew…well somewhere in there…there were just a lot of things that didn’t get said often enough, weren’t there?
I’d like to be one of those mothers who says that if I had it to do over again I would leave a few more dishes in the sink, a few more toys on the floor, but I know me too well. I wouldn’t. I would, however, spend more time reinforcing the following thoughts; if you are still rearing your children, these thoughts are definitely something to ponder…a lot.
1. It is not your job to keep the people you care about happy.
Obviously, this begins with your parents, but it will eventually extend to the rest of the world. It is, however, your job to be the best you can be at whatever relationships you choose to put yourself in. Therefore, make your choices wisely and understand that you have already lost when your friends, your employers, or your dates expect something that you will never be able to give…their happiness.
2. By the same token, do NOT expect others to make you happy either. That is your job!
It is so easy to fall into this trap; we’ve all been there at one time or another, and it simply will not work. Expecting someone else to create happiness for you always leads to disappointment and will leave you feeling let down every single day of your life. The very dangerous thing about this is that it will be those very feelings of hurt and “aloneness” that will put you at risk for turning to substances to kill the pain. We’ve all seen where that usually leads, haven’t we?
3. Choose the people you surround yourself with wisely.
You are you, and you have a very unique, special personality. Trying to change yourself just to fit in with a certain group or clique will never really make you happy. Have the guts to be yourself and choose to run with those people who like you as you are. Whether you are ten or ten times ten, living outside of your true personality will never bring you real happiness.
4. Education is nothing but a means to an end.
Since I have no way of knowing what life will offer you, I have to insist that you push yourself to succeed in the classroom. It would be nice if you enjoyed your schoolwork, but I did not, and there is a good chance you won’t either. The odds are that you are going to need to go to college, and you will need those grades to get in; however, if a better opportunity presents itself to you, I will be cool with that. I might even manage to stand it if you say ain’t…as long as it does not hinder your being able to support your family well and pay your own bills…and WE DO expect that you will pay your bills and not live off of society. Ultimately, you and only you will be responsible for yourself.
5. Stand up for yourself.
It is never my goal to insist on so much obedience that I refuse to listen to your opinions or your side of the story. I am doing my best to raise you so that you can stand up against the winds that life will eventually blow at you. It takes a very strong person to be able to do this, and while I obviously will always demand your respect, I also want y0u to remind me to listen to you, that you have thoughts and dreams of your own that need to be considered as we work on this road of growing up together.
6. People are going to hurt you.
How I wish this were not true, that I could shield you from every hurt that will be thrown at you, but you have to learn how to cope when others hurt you unfairly. I hope that you understand that seldom will this really have anything to do with you. There are just people in the world who are unhappy in their own lives, and they will be jealous of yours. To make themselves feel better, they will throw hurtful darts at you. I would stop them if I could, but I can’t. All I can do is to help you know that they have the problem, not you. I wish I could tell you that life is fair…but it positively is not so do not expect that it is.
7. You are not me.
I know that I am very guilty of forgetting this. Although you are very like me in so many ways, you have your own dreams to fulfill. This can be very, very hard for me to remember, but I promise you that I will try to look at your plans through your eyes and not just through mine. You have to also understand that you have some responsibility here too. I cannot see through your eyes unless you allow me that right, but I’ll try if you will.
8. I am trying my best.
Don’t you roll your eyes at me! I can hear those brain wheels turning as they say, “You mean this is the best you’ve got?” The truth is that yes, I’m doing the very best that I know how. I hate the cliche, but it is true that you did not come with instructions, and I am having to figure this thing out as I go…and as the world whirls around us while I try to keep life from blowing us all away. That can be pretty overwhelming.
9. I need as much help from you as you do from me.
I know you probably don’t know this and I haven’t been very good about telling you, but I really need your help. I don’t just want to be an authority figure in your life. I need you to open up and tell me what you need from me besides clean socks, a meal or two, and a bed. When you were little, this was easy but as you grow, I know you need so much more from me. I just don’t always know exactly what that is.
10. And I’ve saved the most important for last.
There is no real happiness to be found outside of God’s will for your life. I’ve done my very best to teach you this, and I know that you already know it. I also know that there will come those times when you will question so many things, and just like me, you won’t know the answers, but I pray you will always remember that God does know, and He does care.
I Love You