The toughest job… takes courage and strength
The most rewarding job… full of joy and sorrow
On-the-job training… once you think you have it figured out; things change
No instruction manuals… never know what to do
What is your goal as a parent?
Mine is, and always has been, to raise independent, responsible, young men.
I love being a mother. I would have been content living the life of June Cleaver, but I was blessed with the life of Christi Weems; mom of Garrett and Austin Weems. Garrett is the child who always challenged me and felt as though rules were to be broken. Did I mention Garrett is a ginger? Austin is my obedient child who speaks very little, but when he does, he speaks with wisdom and humor. We have had our peaks and valleys and I have made plenty of bad decisions. I felt as though I should share some methods that have been proven to effective over the years.
- The hardest lesson that must be learned as a parent.
Allow them to be who they are; not who you want them to be. This one took me years to figure out and caused a lot of heartache in our house. All I ever wanted to be was “football mom” and I was granted the experience for one high school season. Football was not the boys’ passion; it was mine. I had to let it go and let them be themselves. Garrett found his passion with electronics and graphic design. He began his graphic design career at the age of sixteen and opened his own company at seventeen. Austin is a freshman in high school and has yet to find his passion. Recently, he built his own gaming computer. It may be safe to say that gaming is in his future.
- Live by example.
I cannot expect the boys to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. I have always worked hard, treated people kindly, and lived with integrity which is exactly what I expect from them. I am raising boys to be men without a male role model. It is important to me for them to have good manners. I will stop at a door and wait for them to open it for me. I explain to them that a woman wants to date a gentleman and gentlemen have manners.
- Use your words to build them up; not tear them down.
The world is tough enough on children without parents breaking them down at home. Each day, I tell the boys, “You are a champion. I am proud of you. Make good choices.” I place inspirational notes in their lunches periodically. My heart crushes when I hear a parent call their child, “stupid” even if they’re only joking. Those words linger in your child’s head and heart for years.
- Be hard on them.
The price they pay as children and teenagers is much less than what they’ll pay as adults in society. Any time I received calls from teachers or administrators my response was always, “Be harder on my child than you would be any others.” When Garrett was making bad choices in high school, the assistant principal worked with me to create harsh consequences for his actions. After he suffered the consequences, he straightened up and I did not have any more problems. When they were toddlers, I carried a wooden spoon in my purse; I was never afraid to use it. As they got older, I learned a special pinch on their arm did the trick. Spanking your children may be against your beliefs, but I know it worked for mine.
- Allow them to fail.
This is heartbreaking to watch, but it is necessary to happen. Garrett did not have a good relationship with one of his Spanish teachers. Garrett has never understood the concept of respecting your elders. In his eyes, you had to earn his respect despite your age. He did not respect her for reasons unknown. After multiple emails, phone calls, and conferences, I realized this was a life lesson for Garrett. It was tough for me to see him fail, as a teacher, I cringed. I hate seeing students who are fully capable not succeed solely because they are not willing to work. I emailed the teacher the following, “Garrett is a young adult and has to learn from his actions. I cannot sweep in and do this for him. He has to face the consequences of his actions.” He failed Spanish and had to repeat it the following year. The learning lesson took place about a year later. The first semester he was out of a school an hour early each day, but the second semester he had to stay the extra hour each day to retake Spanish.
- Give them responsibilities.
We divide all the chores in the house by three and we each do our own part. I cannot do it all on my own and they have to understand what it takes to manage a household. If one of us doesn’t do our part, the house cannot function smoothly. They each do their own laundry. I’m not saying they always do things perfectly or the way I would do it, however, if I don’t allow them to do things, the will not learn. It’s okay if the towels aren’t folded perfect. I allow them to cook, but I probably should be teaching them cooking skills more regularly. Culinary techniques are not my specialty; therefore, this is an area we could all use some improvement. I also sit down with them to discuss the monthly budget. Often times, they would rewash a load of laundry instead of folding the clothes and putting them away (which infuriated me.) After we discussed the electricity and water bill, this routine concluded.
- Love Unconditionally.
Love unconditionally is affection without any conditions. Do your children know you love them without any conditions? Your children must know they are loved despite their behaviors. We create their safe haven by the love we provide.
Raising boys to be men without a man around has been a tough, but rewarding journey. I am proud of the men my boys have become. Parenting is my favorite job and I have made my share of mistakes. My boys are not perfect and they are still learning but they make my life complete. I hope this encourages you to speak words of encouragement to your children today! Believe in yourself because you are doing a great job!!