This series of posts is excerpted from the book, Yes, They’re All Ours and were written by Rick Boyer in 1996…..
In the early days of our parenthood, it sometimes seemed that life would go on forever as it was going then. We’d never have any money, we’d never have a child who was old enough to babysit, we’d never have air conditioning. I was so tense as a young man that I made life harder for myself and those around me.
I’ve heard Marilyn say that when she had three children, life was tougher than it was with eight because when she had only three, there were no big helpers. Two were in diapers, and Rickey was a bundle of energy. Now, of course, we have some good help trained and that is a blessing, but the extra needs of the family are felt, too. It takes a tremendous expenditure of time, finances and effort to do what we do.
But by now we know that it won’t always be this way. There may be tougher times with a sick child or persecution such as when we were in court over home education. And there will almost certainly be easier times, too, when more of our children are mature teens and ready to carry their own weight and somebody else’s, too. All we know for sure is that everything that comes to pass, passes.
One of the blessings of our hard seasons is the powerful motivation they have been to train our children in wisdom. Not infrequently, I find myself telling one or more of my children, “Now don’t be like me when I _____” and fill in the blank. There are those who say that children have to make all their own mistakes. I say baloney. We all agree that it’s not a good idea to stand in the path of a speeding truck, and we didn’t learn it by experience. Some things have to be learned by one’s own mistakes, but a lot of things can be learned from the experiences of others. I want my children to learn from my mistakes and not have to make their own. I have enough mistakes in my repertoire to go around.
Some of the things I’ve learned, through bitter experience, which I want to pass on to my children are:
- Stay in the Word.
- Work hard even when you’re discouraged- it helps.
- Consider self-employment; there’s flexibility when it’s done right.
- Develop a personal and family ministry.
- If others aren’t ministering, don’t complain; minister instead.
- Keep a screwdriver handy. There are loose doorknobs everywhere. 🙂
One day in the fall when Rick and Tim were little guys around kindergarten age, we went to the woods to give our dogs a run. I kept the dogs in the car at first and sent the boys running off through the trees to hide so the dogs could hunt them down. I watched them trot eagerly away in their jackets and sneakers while a shower of yellow and orange leaves cascaded down through the clear autumn air. The thought struck me that this was a good day in my life and that I should enjoy it. Those were my precious little sons galloping away through the leaves and they were happy and healthy. They had a wonderful mother and two baby brothers and dogs to play with in the woods. It was a good day in their lives as well as mine.
It’s a shame that it seems so easy to get distracted, by a little difficulty, from great blessings. The season in which we find ourselves is never all good or all bad, but it is temporary and we should savor it while it’s here.
I was reminiscing a while back with a man I see only once or twice a year. His son was my best friend in junior high and high school and they put up with seeing a lot of me then. As I reminded him of some of the things we used to do together, he said, “Yes, those were good years.”
They hadn’t seemed so good to me because it was during those years that my family was going through some hard times and I was struggling to live with myself while growing up. But talking to him reminded me that there had been some wonderful times and dear friends. I’m glad those years look good to him in memory because he made them better for me.
One day in May, Marilyn was sitting out in a lawn chair during a rare moment of leisure and watching the children play in the yard. She said the strongest feeling came over her that God was saying to her, “Enjoy this day. This is a precious time with your children. Treasure this day in your heart.”
That’s something I’ve had a hard time learning and it’s earned me a few wifely scoldings. I don’t know why contentment has been such a hard lesson to learn but it must be one of my besetting sins.
Fortunately, there is enough nostalgia in my makeup to compensate for mental hyperactivity. I love to sit and look at our photos. The children love it, too, and we have some pretty tattered photo albums….. Besides my own memories, I think there’s a lot of value in building memories for the children to take with them into adulthood and families of their own.
Take time to make these memories. And take time to enjoy your family. If you’re not enjoying your children, you’re too busy. Children grow up overnight whether you want them to or not, and you can’t afford to miss little happenings that will one day be your memories.