I enjoy sharing experiences and tips that have helped us manage all the chaos resulting from having four kids and full-time careers and lots of volunteer commitments, but I don’t for a minute want anyone to think that our life is perfect. It is definitely more crazy and happy and full than I could have ever imagined life would be, but really, we’re still figuring it all out, too…making our share of mistakes along the way. As parents, we learn mostly by experience. All the blogs and advice in the world cannot really teach us what lies ahead in the adventure of raising children. While child development can be influenced by many factors, there exists an individuality in each person that will surface regardless of their upbringing.
I know I’ve looked at my kids and thought, “Why is that one so different than the other? We’ve raised them the same way…” They simply are expressing their individuality, their own way of learning and doing and discovering their talents, and they must do this on their own time.
My mother says you don’t know how your kids are going to turn out until they’re 40. I think she’s on to something, because by then, they’ve made it through their schooling…graduated from high school and college (or not); made some career choices (or not); gotten married and/or divorced (or not); started having kids (or not)…you get the picture.
It’s sometimes difficult to do, but if we keep in mind the question, “will this matter 10 years from now?”, it helps keep us grounded and helps us make better decisions on how to react to a mistake, whether it’s ours or one our kids have made. I can honestly say that when I’ve looked back at things I thought were catastrophic a few years ago, they really were minor events in the grand scheme of things.
More importantly, it gives a perspective that we’re in this for the long haul. It means less panic over the bumps in the road at age 8, or 14, or 20 because, after all, they’re not 40 yet. Give them some time.