Do You Want to Have Great Kids or Raise Great Kids?

February 4, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

One of my all-time favorite stories in our family history didn’t happen to me and I wasn’t even there.  15 years later, despite my tendency to exaggerate stories, I have yet to tell this story as if it happened to me or I was there.  That’s remarkable for me.

Anywho, it was the summer of 1995 and Heidi and I, who had been married one year, led a group of college students on a 6 week trip to Ukraine.  We had a great time and felt a connection with the Ukranian students that we met there.  One afternoon, after we had been there a couple of weeks, Heidi was with her translator.  Her translator Anya was about 18 years old.  They were walking together and Heidi said, “I want to learn Russian.”  Without missing a beat, Anya said, “No you don’t.”  Heidi argued with her.  Then Anya said, “You don’t want to learn Russian.  You want to speak Russian.”

What a statement.  Heidi and I use that when talking to people all the time.  So often what we want is the result but we are unwilling to do the work.  We don’t want to lose weight, we want to be thin.   This most recently came up in my mind as I was dealing with one of my girls.  One of them had a friend over and her dad pulled into the driveway.  As I tried to call my daughter and her friend, they ignored me, again and again and again . . .  You’ve been there right?

I’m trying to be cool.  I don’t want to embarass her in front of her friend.  On attempt number 6, she finally comes out loaded with mediocre excuses as to why she didn’t come and couldn’t even acknowledge me.  I held off for the 60 seconds or so until her friend was gone.  Then I gave the talk about respect (again) and how we act the same with our friends here as when they are not (again) and about making excuses instead of apologizing (again).  (Anyone ever tempted to record the speeches and play them back while they sleep so maybe it will soak in subliminally?)

After putting her to bed, I walked away thinking (again) how hard this is.  How constant this is.  There are no breaks from parenting.  You always have to be attentive.  You are constantly shaping behavior, molding a heart, encouraging, rebuking, consoling.  It can be emotionally exhausting sometimes.

I want to have great kids.  I want them to be awesome young ladies that go into the world and become incredible women.  However, if I want to have great kids, that means I have to raise great kids. There’s not even a Rosetta Stone shortcut.


3 Responses to “Do You Want to Have Great Kids or Raise Great Kids?”
  1. Howitzer says:

    Great article.. and so true..

  2. Megan says:

    “There are no breaks from parenting.”

    So true.

  3. psychomom says:

    This is so true. There are days that you are not going to be their favorite person but hopefully down the road they will respect you for the decisions you made and the reasons behind them. Probably one of the best compliments and reinforcement I ever had was from my own daughter. A friend of hers had been in trouble for something. She said “Mom, it’s not their fault – they don’t have a mom like you that cares.” She got it – she gets it – and my work is done? No – it lasts a lifetime. You must guide and nurture them forever, the raising never ends. Exhausting? Yes! Worthwhile? YES YES!

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