Today, we bid farewell to my daughter who is off to college. I do not know how to describe my feelings – a hodgepodge blend of joy and sadness. Joy at the fact my daughter graduated from high school with excellent grades and she acquired a good amount of scholarships to cover all her college tuition! Sadness that she is moving 5 hours away to college. She is daddy’s girl. The thought of her go so far away scares me. Yet, we bring up our children so they can one day leave the nest, right?!
This day of transition in our family has caused me to reflect on my role and journey as a parent. My daughters, Fiela and Tanaka have taught me to be a good parent. Here are a few nuggets I have gathered along regarding parenthood:
- Keep your promise.Be reliable. Be a man or woman of your word. Lies and lack of integrity can damage your relationship with your children for a long time. Children can smell phoniness a mile away.
- Be There.Participate in the child’s school, church and/or community activities. It means showing up where you need to. Going home to cook and eat dinner with your children.
- Believe in your children. The world is full of bullies and naysayers. You need to be your child’s cheerleader. Speak life and hope into your child’s life. If you don’t, who will?
- Don’t abuse your children but set parameters. Don’t be the child’s best friend, instead, be the child’s best parent! You do not have to be give in on everything. Build a relationship of trust.
- Lead By Example.Whether you know it or not, your children are watching you. Let them see you treat each other well. Let them see you fall in love with Jesus. Don’t just send them to church, go to church together.
- Go on Dates.Let the boys know how to treat a woman from you. Let the girls know what a gentleman looks like.
- Pray For and With Your Children.Let them see you and hear pray for them. Some people have said, “A family that prays together, stays together.” (Unknown)
- Switch off the TV.Put away the laptop and the phone. Turn off the video games. Go outside and smell the roses. Relationships develop during the personal, one on one times. Don’t miss these opportunities.
- It may seem like a no-brainer but many people think gifts and gadgets are substitutes for love. Love is spelt “T-I-M-E!” The time spent with children is invaluable and priceless.
- Don’t just yell orders, stop and listen to them. The feel loved and valued when they are listened to. Keep the communication lines open.
Today, my daughter leaves the nest to start her college journey. I pray and hope we have prepared her for the life challenges ahead. Go with God, my daughter, go with God! “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26