Parents teach their children valuable lessons to take with them through life. Lessons about family and building relationships usually top the list, and countless hours are spent teaching, modelling, and reinforcing those lessons until they become embedded in the child. Many parents turn to articles and books to guide them through the parenting maze, but even then, raising children is trial and error at best. Teaching lessons that will carry children to success throughout their lives is not an easy task, but with perseverance, most parents succeed in giving their children the foundation and confidence they need to be successful in life.
However, life lessons are not just for kids. Kids are quite adept at teaching their parents a few lessons of their own. The first lesson, which parents are often oblivious to until too late, is kids are always in control. Parents may think otherwise, but they are only deceiving themselves. They are under the thumb of their children, and they remain there for a lifetime. From an early age, kids sell the idea that “kids come first,” and “the world revolves around them.” Since parents are more eager to please their children than their children are to please them, they buy into the “kids first” mentality hook, line, and sinker. As a result, they are defenseless against being brainwashed. They are at the mercy of master manipulators – their children.
My wife and I are no different; we were thoroughly brainwashed, manipulated, and trained by our three children. They made us unwavering disciples of “our kids come first” and “our world revolves around our kids.” In our home, there has never been any doubt who “ruled the roost” – the kids! Our two sons and daughter taught us how to run errands for them at the drop of a hat and cater to their every need. Their dear old mom slaved over a stove and oven eight hours a day to cook their favorite meals, and what did she get? Turned up noses and squeals of “Ewww, there’s an onion in my potato salad;” “Gross there’s tomato pieces in the spaghetti sauce;” and “I’m not eating anything green.” How that poor woman made it through the child bearing years only to be bushwhacked by kids with the palate of a McDonald’s junky, I will never know! Nevertheless, like most parents, we were and are bound within a system of labor (service to our kids) for a fixed period of time (from birth to forever) in which our lives are exclusively the property of our children. In fact, we have been named “Indentured Servants” of the year more than once since the births of our children. However, if you ask my wife, she will tell you we would not have it any other way, especially now that our children are parents.
We are having the time of our lives watching our grandkids wrap our daughter and sons around their sticky little fingers. Like us, our kids have become “Indentured Servants” to their children – baseball, softball, football, golf, cheerleading, band, show choir, church youth events, sleepovers, cooking their meals with special attention to personal diets and preferences, washing their clothes, money for movies, keys to the car, and waiting to 11:00 a.m. to cut the grass on Saturday morning so as not to interrupt the little darlings’ sleep are just a few of the concessions they along with countless other parents make for their children! It’s all fun though, and when their children are thirty, our kids will most likely agree as well. Our kids keep us smiling and young, and my wife and I would not change any of it for any treasure in this world. The good news is we are confident the lessons are not over. With six grandchildren, we still have a lot to learn, but the grandkids will have to work hard if they expect to top the following list of lessons their parents taught us.
Lessons We Learned from Our Three Kids
- It is not wise to jump out of a swing backwards;
- Dancing can break bones;
- You really don’t want to know what the odor in your sons’ bedroom is;
- Towel capes cannot make you fly, but they are good for cleaning up the blood before mom gets home;
- One daughter is more than a match for two sons;
- Sharpies will write on anything including floors, walls, and ceilings as well as act as the perfect touch-up paint for everything that does not need painting;
- A clothes dryer does not make a good hamster’s wheel – RIP Herman;
- Lost underpants during potty training means ransacking the house to find those underpants;
- Boiled Easter eggs will spoil if kept under the bed until the following Easter;
- Parents should be extra suspicious when their children are quite;
- Do not drink after your kids;
- “Uh oh” after the toilet flushes means “watch out,” but it is probably too late.
©Jack Linton, April 20, 2017