Reflecting on Parenting

I am home again for the weekend!  There is nothing better than being home with my family.  Yet having cancer throws a curveball in many areas of one's life.  And one thing cancer attempts to do is also throw a curveball at how I parent.

No, cancer.  You won't win that battle either.

You see, with cancer, I notice there is a temptation at times to say yes a lot more to my kids, especially when I am home for the weekend.  Don't misunderstand me, cancer does bring perspective and with it there are some things that are not big deals that I have softened up on BUT...

Just because I have cancer it does not mean I should stop raising my kids to be future adults.  What I mean by that is, yes, in this moment I could make my life and their life easier by saying yes to everything.  But I am raising future adults who need to be able to stand strong on their own two legs and be able to handle what life throws at them, starting with their Mom having cancer.  

Pain, heartache and the unknown all suck yet they are all a part of life and learning how to cope and develop life skills to use to when facing trials is something I wish my kids didn't have to learn this way, but I know it is important for them to learn these skills.  Yes, they are 11, 10 and 4 but by not cushioning this experience with yes's to all their desires, I believe I am helping them in the long run. 

Something that crossed my path recently that really struck a cord with me is from author Tim Elmore.  I heard him speak where he gave insight to what I am hoping to do as a parent for my children.  Tim shared that kids were naturally born into a S.C.E.N.E.(S) generation, where Speed, Convenience, Entertainment, being over Nurtured, and Entitlement are becoming more common yet they are not the tools that will help our children grow into their best selves.

Without asking for it our children's generation is experiencing everything to be Speedy so they think slow is bad.  Everything is Convenient and a click away which makes them believe that hard is bad.  Tim states that in a national survey of K-12 teachers says the most common complaint from students is "it is too hard."  Tim also shared that this generation of kids are Entertained and therefore they think boring is bad. Yet studies show that boredom develops empathy and creativity in children.  This generation also is over Nurtured therefore they think healthy risk is bad.  He also stated that this generation has a high self-confidence but low self-esteem.  Lastly he shared that our kids were born into an Entitled generation where they think labor and working for things is bad.  There is one more I added on which this generation was born into and that is Selfies.  I believe looking beyond ourselves and helping build up others by serving others is a beneficial life skill for our children. 

I want my kids to know that the best things in life like developing strong relationships and their natural gifts will take time to grow.  I want them to know that also the best things in life aren't always convenient and easy but may be hard and challenging.  I want them to know that being bored and having empty space in their day is where they can fuel their tanks and gain balance for this go-go-go world we live in.  I want them to know healthy risk is a part of life and will at times mean that they may fail AND that that is okay.  We learn through experiences in life, not by avoiding them.  I want my kids to know that not everything in life will be handed to them but that they will need to work for things.   And lastly, I want my kids to know that caring for yourself is important.  Yet if it is their only focus they will grow empty.  Serving others and helping those who need a hand will fuel their tank because when you give a little love, you get a little love growing in you as well.

And this is how I choose to parent - with or without cancer.

Parenting is not easy.  The temptations are strong to throw in the towel and let whatever fly especially while I am home for only a couple days on the weekend.  But I don't believe that will serve my children best now, or in the future.  I know this may not be the easier path, for me, or for them, but I wholeheartedly believe it is what is best.

So this weekend, although filled with laughter and joy when real parenting moments need to happen, they do.  I love my kids too much to let anything, including cancer, get in the way of my parenting them to be future adults.  I am not perfect at this but I am doing my best and am hopeful our children will be equipped with life skills to handle whatever life throws at them now, and in the future.

With love and hope,

Shawn

Resources

1.  Tim Elmore's website:  Growing Leaders

2.  Tim Elmore's talk I heard on Northpoint app:  Helping the Next Generation Win