Looking back over the years as the last child leaves the nest suddenly throws the parent into an unexpected sense of turmoil. Just where have all those years gone?
As parents we’re apt to take our kids for granted, even bemoaning the task of parenting when things get toughest.
And yet this journey—the one where the kids are at home—is over all too soon.
It’s hard when children are young and they demand so much of our time, focus, attention and effort. And whilst the needs change as they grow, they never really diminish. But the reality is if we don’t get over our desire to retain our time for ourselves, we’ll come to regret it later when it’s far too late to do anything about it.
Two Collective Senses – To ‘Bemoan’
“Bemoaning” is actually a very interesting word concept in view of the present discussion.
This word’s synonyms range in meaning from those associated with complaint to those depicting grief or mourning... almost implying, in this context, that we might one day bemoan that we wasted our opportunities to enjoy our children’s journeys rather than complaining about them. Guilt no doubt ensues. The truth is we’re all to be forgiven for this.
Bemoaning is rather appropriate in the context of parenting. If we bemoan (complain about) the journey now we may come to bemoan (mourn) it later.
An ‘Impossible’ Concept – Enjoying All of Parenting’s Challenges
It is a rare parent who can truly say they live solely to parent, like it’s their number one interest—in a balanced way.
For very many parents—and this is in very many ways a self-portrait—a lot of parenting is extrinsic. The rewards are fleeting and most of it is simply hard work for little immediate gain.
Perhaps the only way we can truly enjoy parenting, certainly in the midst of all the wearying challenges, is with our vision cast on the sight of what stands far in the future—to the investment we’re paving their way, for today, in faith.
One day we’ll look back and know the sacrifices of love were worth it. Indeed, God gives us some real sense of down-payment on that when we do sacrifice lovingly for our kids.
Some Things to Never Forget
Many parents do not get to enjoy the full benefit of their children. Some are taken far too early. Others are impaired beyond ‘normal’ function and enjoyment. Some adults cannot have children even though they’d be prepared to make huge sacrifices for the privilege that many parents take for granted.
There above are only three very poignant reasons for parents to really rethink the dimensions of gratitude pertaining to their personal style of parenting.
Now, to the final point: parenting is a legacy. Because we never know when the end of our own lives might abruptly come, we need to ensure each our most memorable ‘performances’ as parents is remembered as we’d want them remembered—from an end-of-life perspective. This life is no dress rehearsal from the context of parenting our children.
If that’s not a good motivation to us I’m not sure what would be.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.