Hi there, it's Finley 👋🏼 and Happy Friday.
Today's story takes 2 minutes to read.
Look Back: Taking care of yourself is also taking care of your kids.
Do you love or hate surprises?
Parenting is full of unexpected occurrences. As much as you'd like to prepare fully ahead of time, you and I both know that you can't.
Much of the time, parenting feels like you are pushing a rock uphill, into a headwind, while wearing flip-flops on your feet. You're slipping and sliding while trying to get a bit ahead but the surprises keep coming.
Parenting is full of them...
- Emergency C-Section
- Just missing the school bus pickup
- Two lost teeth and no money for the tooth fairy
- Three sons when you grew up in a house of only sisters
- Your child missing out on the classroom with the entire friend group
"The ultimate form of preparation is not planning for a specific scenario, but a mindset that can handle uncertainty." James Clear
This week I was invited to come and share some of our parenting experiences with a small group of young parents. It was a blast.
Nothing like eagerness and urgency to create a captive audience.
We covered a lot of topics from smartphones to friendships to when to have "the talk" with your kids. (side note: I think age ten and fifth grade is about right).
One truth that consistently emerged was this... Most of the young parents were trying to prepare for far too many scenarios.
The normal thinking for parents (that I also have embraced) goes like this:
If I can get far enough ahead and see what trouble may come our way, I can snuff it out before it crashes into us.
The problem with this thinking, though is that the scenarios are endless.
Every year, your family will encounter something new, unexpected, and impossible to predict.
I spent 15 years of my life, from age 21 to 36, working with teenagers.
If you can think of a scenario, I can promise you, I had encountered it.
I thought that meant we were going to dance our way through junior high and high school with our kids.
It couldn't have been further from the truth.
I had walked alongside families for years, but it was different when it was my kids. The feelings were deeper. The stakes were higher.
Some people have a more flexible mind and attitude than others. Can I see the hands of all the rigid parents out there like me?
The challenge you will consistently face as a parent is that your children's future is uncertain.
Their first steps.
Their neighborhood friendships.
Their foolish mistakes.
Their sibling relationships.
Their broken hearts.
Their proudest moments.
The danger lies in the gap between expectations and uncertainty.
Parenting is full of unexpected occurrences.
Many parents expect the best outcomes and fail to leave emotional room for when things fall apart. Their mindset is easily shattered.
Other parents anticipate all the terrible outcomes and either control too much or care too little. Their mindset is unhelpful long term.
The wise parent prepares for the in-between.
They know that the future with their kids is uncertain and therefore they focused on staying connected.
They take the long view and choose to not overreact.
This week our 18yr old daughter sent my wife and me a text that said, "Thank you for the way that you raised me." This is the same daughter that couldn't stand to be in the same room with us 3 years ago.
There are too many outcomes to expect and anticipate as a mom or dad.
The best thing you can do is prepare your mind and heart for that truth.
Then you'll be more than ready for whatever happens next, at least for 24hrs anyway.
Be More Like Children
"Children ask an average of 250 questions a day.
Adults ask an average of 20.
Children laugh an average of 150 times a day.
Adults laugh an average of 6 times.
Jesus says to be more like children."