Ben and I often wonder what the secret is to having good children who grow up and become good, productive and happy adults. In his line of work, we see so many kids grow up and move away and we always wonder if there was something we could have done or contributed to their lives to keep them on the right path, to keep them looking to God when they need answers and they’re out there on their own.
At my parents’ house tonight we talked about it with them for a long time. I can only remember wonderful things from my childhood—painting and learning macrame from my mama, running chores with daddy on Saturdays at building supply stores, trips to the beach, sleepovers at my grandparents where mammaw and I would build tents from blankets and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was everything I hope for our kids someday (if we are ever ready for something so huge). My dad said the only things you can really do are these:
1. Really, truly, let your children know that you love them.
2. Let them know that love means discipline, which you should do anytime they do something they shouldn’t. EVERY time.
3. Having a mama who can be at home with them when they’re little is wonderful.
4. Don’t let them worry about the trivial things like being “cool” to the other kids, but instead being thoughtful and prepared for the future.
I asked them to start making lists of these things as they think of them—a list I can have and keep because someday I might have children of my own and I want to be the kind of parent that they were to us. The kind of parents you can always be proud of because you know they did everything out of love. Ben and I are very lucky because we both had that blessing, then we found each other. How great is that?
Big Ben when he was Little Ben with his sweet parents, Jookie and the Rev.