It’s natural to look back. It’s natural to have those feelings of “Woulda” “Shoulda” “Coulda”. But the past is the past. I cannot change it.
But I can share with others lessons learned and as a grandmother, I would like to share those lessons learned with you today. You can listen and apply them to your life or you can look back as a grandma and wonder—what could have been?
There are some things we did really well that I’m so grateful for.
- We trained our children to be independent. Who knew that all those years of teaching them to handle their finances, care for a home, take care of themselves, would pay off so amazingly. That time was a tremendous investment. (For tips on what to do, see our family’s story in the book “The Parenting Breakthrough” by Merrilee Browne Boyack, available at Deseret Book or Amazon.)
- We taught our children faith. This was huge. It became an anchor to their lives in a powerful way. So no matter what your faith, teach our children. I see so many adults who have no anchor in their lives because their parents didn’t give them this gift. Live it and give it.
- We had our children serve with us. Rather than waiting until they were in Scouts or church or other group and did service with them, we believed that we—as a FAMILY—should serve. So service projects, political involvement, community participation, all became part of our family experience. Our children learned to look at others and the world in a very different way. (For ideas see “52 Weeks of Fun Family Service” by Merrilee Boyack, available at Deseret Book or Amazon.)
What I wish we would have done better – the “if I had it to do over again” reflections:
- Slow down. Oh this is absolutely the #1 thing I would have done differently. We were always in a rush. With four boys, you can imagine that life was a bit—lively! If I had it to do again, I’d put a GIANT poster in my bedroom and repeat this mantra every day—slow down! Slow down and bake cookies. Slow down a lay on the grass and look at the clouds. Slow down and really LISTEN to your child. Savor everything.
- Embrace and celebrate your child’s uniqueness. We did some of this, but I would have done a whole lot more. Some children sing or dance or are brilliant – they get a lot of attention. But what about the child who is a quiet peacemaker or a loyal friend or a humble follower? If I had it to again, I’d celebrate each child’s wonder far more.
- Ignore expectations. We are all buffeted by expectations. I’m just grateful that I wasn’t a young homemaker with Pinterest! I would have gone bonkers!! Ignore all that. Ignore what everyone else is doing that doesn’t have meaning. Think – “In 50 years from now, will my children care that I redecorated their room in the latest fashions?” Heavens no. As my friend Ellen Morris taught me, “Children won’t remember much of what you said, but they will remember how they FELT in your home.” Ignore worldly pushes and shoves. Focus on what matters.
Each of us is on a wonderful journey with our families. We are in control of what that journey is like.
I hope that these ideas have helped you on your journey. Life is such a great experience of learning and trying. Enjoy the process.
Connect with Merrilee Boyack!
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