“Every parent will leave a personal legacy (though not all parents will leave behind an inheritance). What I give to my children or what I do for my children is not as important as what I leave in them. ” Reggie Joiner
We’ve heard it all before. Our kids watch us. They listen to us. How we act and what we say becomes part of who they are. Scary, eh?
The other day, my 13 year old mentioned a few things that she dreams of doing when she has children of her own. She plans to read to them every day, cuddled up on the couch. She wants to do crafts, and not just colouring, but REAL cool crafts. She wants to bake with them. I love her desire to teach and lead her children, even though she’s still a child herself.
It was what she said after that which struck me with force. She said that I’m a great mom, and I’ve done the best I could, but I didn’t really do much with them when they were younger. Ouch! That hurt. And that’s not how I remembered it. I remember having bookcases of books available and a craft table with all the glue, glitter, and fancy stickers a child could ever dream of having. However, what I had forgotten, was that I was so often overwhelmed, that I didn’t sit with them to read as much as I wanted, or actually do a craft with them. It makes me sad. But the reality is, that I was suffering from depression, even when I didn’t realize it. My anxiety and depression limited what I could do with my children when they were young. Like I said, that makes me very sad.
However, I have forgiven myself for not being the “perfect” mom. I did what I could, with the capabilities that I had. My daughter, thankfully, understands and acknowledges that. I pray my other children will, as well. Do I wish that I could go back and read more, do more crafts? Sure, I do. What mom wouldn’t? Yet, I’m so thankful for the time I have with them now, when I am feeling better, more clear and not in a depressed state. I still get overwhelmed with the mess they make, the complicated crafts and cooking with the kids. I mean, really, what mom doesn’t? Yet, I have more control over my intense feelings now.
Yes, what I gave (or will give) to my children, or what I did (or will do) with my children, is important But not that important. I’ll never be a “perfect” mom, since I am human, after all. My desire is that I will leave them with a legacy within themselves, a legacy of hope and love. Listening to my daughter dream of teaching and leading her children, I feel I’m on the right track.
Do you have any parenting regrets? Have you been able to forgive yourself?
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Photo Credit: Jeff Stover