Are you teachable? Are you willing to learn from others? Are you adaptable? These are the questions that I've been reflecting on the last year, I want to sit and learn from others. Every person has value, they have an amazing story. Do you act like you know everything? Do you have all the answers? When I meet people who aren't teachable it makes me sad for them. There are so many amazing moms out there with wisdom and lessons to teach. Join me for part 2 of my Janurary interview (oops is it February already?) with Whitney!
If you missed part 1 CLICK HERE
Q- Are you a laid back mom or a strict mom?
A- I consider myself laid back. My boys said that one of the things they liked was that you always gave them the pros and the cons, but I always let them make their own choice. Even when they were young, they remember me saying "well let's talk through that. Here's what's going to happen if you do that and here's what going to happen if you don't. And here are the positives and there are always positives, even with sin there's positives. Unfortunately. The end result is death- The wages of sin is death. I probably said that 1,000 times. But you always have a choice. So you have to make your choices on your own." So I think I'm probably really laid back, but I also tried to make conscious choices with my boys. For instance, I always chose to have my boys friends at our house, we would have parties and invite kids that they didn't necessarily hang out with and my boys said that made them be more social, it made them be more kind to people they really didn't know, it made them branch out. And they appreciate that now because they said it always made them a better person, it helped them to feel confident in talking to whomever as they got older. They said they felt like they had never met a stranger.
Q- Do you ever have those days when you wish you could go back to when your kids were little?
A- There are times when I walk into a room and I see their faces and I see them as if they were little laying in the their bed. I looked at Cole the other day sitting on the coach with his new little dog and I could see his little boy face again! This time with a beard (ha!) but it was like I was right back at that time. I do, I really miss that time when they were dependent on me. There are definitely those seasons in your life you will miss. And you will want to go backwards. I miss that time of being needed so much. I think now I have to find other people who need me. Being a mom for so long, you are so needed by everyone in your family.
Q- What habits do you see the fruit of now?
A- I would say hard work. Our kids were always made to work, they had chores that started when they were really little. We made them work outside, anytime we were outside working- they were outside working. We started family chore day on Saturday when our youngest son Cole was around 6 years old, we would all get up in the morning and draw cards for which room we were going to clean. The boys were responsible for their own room, but all the other rooms were written on a card and thrown in a bucket. And that was something I had to really let go of was that it might not be done perfect. But at least I was teaching them a skill. Those family chores didn't have allowance allotted to them -these were just expected. If they wanted the latest something or wanted to earn money we had extra chores for them on the refrigerator. And the amount of money was earned based on how well they did the extra chore, and if I had to tell them to do it then they weren't getting paid for it. Sometimes at the end of the week or a month we would pay them for the extra chores or go buy them that thing they were really working hard to buy themselves! And we would thank them for their hard work.
Q- What were some of your favorite memories of the boys when they were young?
A- One of mine is that I rocked my boys to sleep every night. I really valued that time I spent with them. I remember so many nights just holding them and not putting them down right away. Going to their sporting events, we didn't ever miss a game of theirs- the only time I even remember is when I was coaching and in a tournament we were winning. Those are such great memories because we used them as life lessons of losing and winning. That's a really great time to teach your kids a lot of things. Some of our best talks were coming back from games and sporting events.
Other memories are hanging out at the house on the weekends. We had a pool for forever, we don't now but we need another one. The summers in the pool, just hanging out with the kids. Putting the phone away, really if there was anything I could tell parents today: put your phone away, put your computer away and just enjoy your time to be with your kids! We made a rule a long time ago it was no phones at the dinner table. Make quality time where everyone unplugs. When our boys got older we picked Sunday night and did a short devotional as a family. We took turns so we each led once a month. Then we would talk about our week, we kept a journal, a prayer log, seeing answered prayer for others and ourselves. Then we would spend time after that playing a game or watching a movie. Those Sunday nights really helped us stay connected as a family.
Q- What's a regret or something you would have done differently?
A- Teaching them better financial management skills. We were not good at that ourselves so we didn't teach them very well. Also I really coddled them when it came to their schoolwork. Being a teacher, a lot of it was pride. I wanted them to be good students because I didn't want people to think I'm a bad mom. Sometimes I would help them to the point of enabling them. When they played sports and came home exhausted the last thing they would want to do is homeowork. So I would help them. Looking back I wouldn't enable them, I would let them fall were they may. I wish I wouldn't have helped them out everytime.
Whitney thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and life lessons as a mother! Do you have anything else you want to share?
A- Yes! Here are some comments from my boys:
- Thank you for teaching me priorities. To put God first, from a very early age.
- Even when I made mistakes my parents never made me feel ridiculed or judged. I always knew I could go to them and talk to them because I knew they would love me no matter what.
-Some of my insecurities led me to make bad decisions. Make sure parents are continually aware of the excuses your kids are making for these, they may just be insecure about that area.
-One thing you never said was that you were disappointed in us. You might have said "that's really disappointing" it was never personal, it was never an attack.
-Our mom taught us to find a woman that's filled with Gods beauty. So that our eyes could see what the heart sees. That beauty comes from within and it radiates from an inner being.
-We've never been rich but we've had a very rich life!
Wow! Tears. I got really emotional with that last thought from Whitney's son! So many times my thoughts are consumed with providing for my children and it's not about the stuff. It's about the love and time you put into your children. I will always remember that. A rich life is so much more then our society says it is, it's about parents who put down their phones and have family night. Parents who take the time to teach a life lesson after a game. Parents who teach the inner beauty of others.
I want to be a parent like that. Do you?