I sure wish that I could have a “do-over” when it comes to raising teenagers…specifically high schoolers. Now that all of our girls are out of the house, I’ve really thought about what I would have done differently if I knew then what I know now.
Many of you know that I am the parent of six daughters. Two girls are my biological daughters and four are my wife’s, but I consider and love them all as if they were all mine from the get-go. They are all great kids and they are all very, very unique. There are some similarities, but they are there own young women now.
Here are FOUR DO-OVERS for Parenting Teenagers:
- I Would Have Focused on What Really Matters:
Seriously, I remember dialing up the wrath of Daddy when a couple of our kids could have been raising hogs in their bedrooms. The bigger deal was – were they grateful for what they had? Did they see me focused on who they were, not on who I wanted them to be? Did they honor the role of mother and father, in their attitude as much as their actions? If I could rewind the tape of my girl’s high school years, I would have been laser-focused on their unique and defining brilliance. I would have urged them to stand out and be the young lady God longed for them to be…not what I wanted them to be. In short, I would have cared far more about matters of the heart, rather than matters of my rules. Keeping the main thing the main thing is a parents main thing!
- I Would Have Insisted They Enter the Work Force at Age 15:
The greatest babysitting gig on the planet doesn’t prepare your kid for real-life work. The lessons learned while working for a boss and with the public is a Ph.D. in life. All of the extracurricular activities are great, but understanding the value of hard work is far greater than one more season of activity. Are you ready for this one? I would have asked them to work a full-time job for one full year before entering college, insisting that they learn to pay for “their stuff” before jumping into sororities and college life.
- I Would Have Intentionally Taken them on Far More Mission Trips:
Nothing, absolutely nothing creates a grateful heart like seeing a world of poverty and lack of life’s essentials. I was able to take some of the girls on some of the trips, and all of them went on mission trips with or without me. I would have loved for them to have experienced far more. There is an entire world of hopeless people that our children need to experience if they are to ever understand what the Great Commission and Great Commandment truly mean.
- I Would Have Read More Scripture and Prayed More With Them:
The Scriptures were a real part of all our kid’s lives, but there is a difference in giving them a direction and asking them to run that way, and walking patiently through Scripture and Prayer out loud – together! I can only look back now, and pray earnestly that the truth found in the Holy Scriptures might seep into their souls and they would remember to cling to its promises and teachings. I know all of our girls pray. I just wish that I was a central part of their prayer life as their dad. I wish I would have parented with prayers like I grandparent with prayers today.
In all things, I am so grateful for Amy, Sarah, Amelia, Julie, Abby, and Samantha. They make me laugh, cry, cuss, fuss and worry. But I love them with all my heart. I really wish that I had simply said that, with greater regularity and sincerity.