Had a wonderful opportunity recently to love on and encourage my youngest son for several days. He graduated from college and now is ready to make his mark upon the world and make a name for himself. As I think about him going into this world – all by himself – I have been playing the ‘second guess’ game. I have second guessed what I have taught him – what I didn’t teach him – what I have expected from him. I have second guessed my disciplinary choices – if was hard enough on him – or not hard enough. Did I teach him how to do his own laundry, balance a check book, or more importantly, find a job?
All of these questions – and more – seem to haunt me. I’m sharing this with you because I’m trying to save you some second guessing! Your children are only under your wings for a short time. I am believing that you want the very best for them – for them to be mature, successful adults that are living out their desires and dreams.
So from my hindsight I’d like to spur you on to be diligent in your parenting. It’s tough. Especially as a step parent – you don’t have a lot of clout in the beginning. But take courage and be strong – because someone has to stand up and stand firm for this next generation. Don’t just pass on this opportunity because you are not “blood related.” What’s that old saying … ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ You have been given this time – this opportunity to impart your wisdom and instruction to the children that have been birthed by you – birthed by your husband’s previous wife – or adopted – or fostered – or even the neighborhood kiddos. Don’t neglect your importance in their lives.
Proverbs 4:13 says, “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.” That is a wonderful Bible verse – but it really doesn’t work unless someone is doing some instructing for others to hold on to. I believe that we have left the responsibility of teaching our children to school teachers and Sunday School teachers. Let me remind you that this responsibility is first and foremost, ours as parents. I definitely want my children to respect their elders – but I’m the one that taught that to them. I want my children to have manners. That is learned at home – by example. I want my children to know about God and pray to Him and walk in His ways. That is lived out in front of them at home.
Every little chance you get, take the time to stop and teach your children how to do something – walk them through the process. Explain the steps. Tell them the whys and how’s of life. You are one of the greatest influences in their lives. Make it count and hopefully when your send them all off to their own life adventure, you won’t be second guessing what you invested in them!