This Father’s Day, I want to take a moment to reflect on all my parents have taught me about parenting – especially since Father’s Day marks full term of this pregnancy. (Cue the eggplant parmesan, afternoon walks, and anything else that can bring on labor!) Growing up in a home where love was visible between my parents and poured out on each of us children, it’s easy to say they set a great example of parenting.
Photo of me, with my mama, daddy, and baby sister. Snapped on March 26, 1990.
One. The power of a strong marriage.
If you know my parents, you know that their love and commitment for one another has been set above their role as parents. Some of you may disagree, but I see this as a powerful tool in parenting. We knew better than to ever try to make them choose sides (i.e. him against her or vice versa). He would always choose Mama’s side over ours and she will always do the same. As much as my siblings hated that, I learned so much from this act. Their relationship with each other and the Lord made all the difference in their parenting. Aside from one another, they put the Lord first and sought His Word for guidance in how to parent each of us.
Two. Unconditional love.
All of us (Bethany, Brian Ray, Bailey, and myself) are absolutely, 100% totally different from one another. However, despite our differences and mistakes we’ve made growing up, our parents never ceased to show us unconditional love. Their love for us in our darkest moments mirrors the love of the Lord. Was judgement passed? I’m sure. But, not once did they reprimand or comfort us without telling us how much they loved us. Their demonstration of unconditional love is evident through each child and could never be denied.
Three. Be a parent, not a friend.
Today, I can say that my mom and dad are some of my best and truest friends. Could I or would I have said that 10 years ago? Absolutely not. Because they recognized the importance of being my parents through the trying teenage years, rather than trying to seek my approval and being my friends.
Being the firstborn, I’ve always sought independence (at least that’s what I’ve been told). From the first day of Kindergarten to high school graduation, I wanted my freedom and to stand on my own. Although my Daddy would love for me to rely on them more, I’ve seen how hard the two of them have worked to support one another and our family, and desired the same for myself. Definitely a characteristic I inherited from my Daddy, but I see dependency on another as a weakness. Because of my independence, I’ve always strived to work hard, support myself, and be myself – a trait instilled in me by both of my parents.
Five. Most importantly, faith.
Since August 4th, 1987 (and possibly before), my parents have read scripture and sang Christian songs to me. They taught me at a very early age the importance of a relationship with the Lord and the gift of salvation He offered on the cross. Because of their example and desire to pour His Word into me and my siblings, I have no doubt that I’ll be spending eternity with my Heavenly Father. It wasn’t a pastor or stranger that introduced me to my Savior; it was my parents that knelt by my bedside and prayed with me. Their strong faith in Him has been reflected through their relationship, their parenting, and my life. I go to sleep each night knowing that my parents have prayed for me, Justin, and my little girl. If nothing else, I hope to reflect the same image of faith and prayer to our children. It was their example and teachings that taught me the greatest gift of all – the gift of salvation.
What have you learned from your parents that you value above gold?
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy & Barry! We love you more than you’ll ever know.
Also, I want to recognize today as Justin’s first Father’s Day. Justin, I couldn’t be happier to call you my baby’s Daddy and I can’t wait to see you wrapped around her little finger. You’re going to make one incredible, awesome father and I couldn’t be more excited to be by your side along the way. Happy Father’s Day, Justin.