By Kelly Carr
What comes to your mind when you hear the word family? That likely depends on your situation. Did you come from a huge family? Are you an only child? Are you single or married now? Do you have kids or not? Are you enjoying spoiling your grandkids or are you just beginning to raise your first baby?
The family of our youth shapes our attitude and approach to life. And the family of our present colors our perspective on the world.
In this second segment of our family series, we look at parenting through the years. If you’re a parent, you know that you never stop learning. Whatever your kids are going through affects your life and your choices.
Parenting is an intimidating venture. There’s a lot to think about before you become a mom or dad. You are taking responsibility for another human being’s life. Some days that task seems monumental. Other days are filled with so much joy, you feel as if your heart could burst.
Of course, even when you start to gain confidence and feel like you’ve got the hang of parenting, then bam, the kid enters another new confusing phase, and it’s back to the drawing board. Or you have another child, which seems like it should be the same as the first time around—but this kid is nothing like the older sibling; a whole new set of experiences come along, so just fling your previous expertise out the window.
Anne Wilson can relate. In this issue she shares the fears and trepidation she faced when she was pregnant with her son—as well as the mentoring and encouragement she found from others.
I’ve always enjoyed hanging around teenagers. Being a volunteer in youth ministry for years was a huge blessing to me. However I have yet to raise a teenager of my own. I know there are challenges. If you’re in the midst of that task, wondering how to hand over more responsibility and place more trust in your teens, Laury Davis has some solid wisdom. She offers reminders from God’s Word, especially for parents of teens.
From what I hear, parenting doesn’t end when the kids grow up. My parents would likely agree—I continue to ask them for advice, help, and encouragement as an adult. Terry Magee shares his testimony with us, reflecting on the transition in his relationship with his daughter as she became an adult. He has found great joy in this season of parenthood.
What keeps me going? Knowing that I’m not alone. The biggest help I’ve found is having people I can go to for advice. I have friends whose kids are older than my daughter, and I go to them with my questions. It’s nice to talk to parents whose children have already gone through whatever it is my daughter is currently experiencing.
In turn, I try to be there for my friends whose kids are younger than mine. I want to provide a listening ear and encouragement that they are doing a good job.
So far, I’ve noticed that each new phase of parenthood brings new challenges but also new fun ways of interacting with my child. And parenting has certainly taught me a deeper appreciation for God’s role as Father.
I hope you feel encouraged by these articles. Pass them along to a parent you know who might need a pick-me-up.