With Mother’s Day yesterday, I had mommin’ on the mind. I thought it seemed appropriate to conduct a very professional, journalistic interview with the best mom I know:
My mom and I look a lot alike, and we have similar mannerisms. People ask us if we’re twins–and I guess, in a way, we are. Except that she is unendingly patient, perfectly self-disciplined, and she has not an ounce of snarky sarcasm anywhere in her body.
But other than that, we’re just alike.
Well, except that she is humble and gracious and would never write her own blog, because that would be drawing attention to herself, and that just wouldn’t do. And also I’ve never heard her shout at a bad driver.
Okay, so other than that, we’re just alike.
There are so many things my mom did right, I’d need a whole series of posts to record them all. Instead, I thought I’d just get the details straight from the horse’s mouth. (An unfortunate metaphor. Mom, you are nothing like a horse. Please do not withhold the free babysitting.) I sat down and asked her the following questions…
So, who was your favorite, me or Reed? *grin*
I always hoped you’d each think you were my favorite. [Note from Shannon: See? No sarcasm. If my grown kids ever ask me that question, I will totally mess with them.]
So, how DID you keep a straight face through all my ridiculous drama?
I must admit I chuckled often behind your back! However, I felt if the issue in question was important enough to trouble you, I should respect that and take it seriously on your behalf, to some degree. I must admit, it was hard to be patient and understanding when you were in the 9th grade and you called me at work to ask me to come get you at school because your fingernail had broken.
Imagine you could give yourself of 25 years ago one piece of parenting advice. What would it be?
Watch less TV. Media then (and certainly now) is the greatest robber of family life.
What are you proudest of, as a mom?
3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth."
When you look back, what are the things you feel certain you did right?
We raised you in church and in a Christ-centered home; listened a lot; had lots of family discussions on various topics that came up (political, doctrinal, personal, philosophical, etc.); took many family trips together….even short ones count; explained to you our reasonings for things (like when we had to say "no"); being lenient on the non-moral issues, like hair style, time spent on the phone, etc., so when we had to be strict on the moral issues you couldn’t say, "You don’t ever let me do anything!"
So, during my teenage years when you always waited up for me on the weekends, you said it was because you wanted to hear how my evening went. But you were sniffing my breath, weren’t you?
Absolutely! Remember the night you came home chewing gum? (You never chewed gum because of your TMJ.) You didn’t know I saw through that, did you???
For the second half of my growing-up years, you were working outside the home. I look back and am amazed at everything you accomplished. How DID you do it?
I have no idea! I felt like I had to be Supermom, and as a result, I don’t even remember anything about the 1980’s! I was incredibly busy. I couldn’t have done it if God had not provided me with the energy I needed.
You’ve been a teacher for many years, so you’ve interacted with a lot of parents. What are some of the more common mistakes you have seen your students’ parents making?
1. Not realizing that all kids have a different personality at school with their peers than they do at home….even their own little darlin’!
2. Not discussing things as a family. That’s how kids learn to make decisions and reason things out. They need to see their parents work through decision-making principles.
3. Not letting their children experience the consequences for their disobedience.
4. Being too busy to spend time with their kids.
You’re watching your own kids raise children now. How is parenting different for this next generation? How is it the same?
It’s not fair that your kids get to watch DVD’s while they travel! You guys aren’t paying for your raising! Seriously, the technology of today creates brand new risks and temptations for kids. It scares me, and I fear it will continue to get worse as technology develops. One of the worst things about the technology explosion is the lack of meaningful conversation in families. Every person is plugged into something, and that is not good.
The same? Kids still need the very same things y’all did and I did and every generation has: unconditional love from parents, being grounded early in the truths of God’s Word, wise counsel and good example from the adults in his/her life, being listened to and taken seriously, lots of laughter and conversation in their family, and spending lots and lots of time with them!
You are so good at being a parent to your adult children. What’s the key?
Thank you! We feel like our role in your lives is to be a cheerleader, a sounding board, and a prayer warrior…that’s all. We try not to give advice unless you ask. We try to be a welcome blessing in your lives and not an annoying burden!
Any other advice you’d like to add for moms out there in the trenches?
1. One little saying I like that sums it all up for me: Give your children two things – one is roots, the other wings. For me, giving my children roots was the fun part; the wings part is much harder but just as important to their well-being.
2. Savor each day…..even the hard ones. There is no work you will ever do in your entire life that is more important than rearing your family. Growing up a child who loves God and serves Him is your greatest gift to Him.
3. Pray for your child’s future spouse. That child is out there somewhere. It’s such a joy to later meet that unnamed someone you’ve prayed for countless times!
What did I tell you? She’s great.