Sprinting to Life Lessons

Sometimes I feel like my husband and I are in a mad dash to teach our children important life lessons and values. And, by the way, I am not a good runner.

I’m constantly trying to throw in bits of wisdom during teachable moments, but so often, I feel like I’m falling short. If there was ever a parenting manual out there, I would need it to include a list of life lessons and the corresponding date that I’m supposed to have a conversation with my child about it.

My internal monologue usually sounds something like this:

You forgot to make sure he knew how to respond after receiving a gift.

You didn’t remind him how to be a graceful loser.

You totally suck at teaching them how to be guests at other people’s houses.

You left that question off when explaining to him what questions are not appropriate to ask other people.

You failed at teaching him how to include others.

Why didn’t you tell him that it isn’t appropriate to urinate in the middle of the playground?!

The list goes on.

During Christmas, my son and I were walking into a store and I placed a few dollars into the Salvation Army collection. He asked me “Why did you give that man our money?” I explained, in a way that I thought he could understand, what the collection was for and how we are called to give to others who are in need. He replied “If you give all of our money away, we won’t have any to buy stuff.” Whoa. Another failure. I haven’t taught my son about being charitable.

We get 18 years to teach them before putting them out into this world. 18 years. That is terrifying. We have to pack in a lot into those years. I want to look back and know that I equipped my children. How can I possibly fit it all in?

During church one day, my son said “Mom and Dad! The priest has a Piston Cup!” Oh dear. My child thinks that a chalice is a Piston Cup. If you’ve seen the Cars movies you know what the Piston Cup is, and it is most certainly NOT a chalice. It looks like we need to start going to mass two times a week.

The reality is that my children are both very young. Thank goodness! Although time is flying so much faster than I wish it would, we do have time to teach them enough essentials. Somehow, someway. At least I think so. I’ll let you know when I get there.

What is even more crucial is that we have time to live lives that model these values for them.

It isn’t a sprint. I don’t have to check off every item on my “Raising Good People To Do List” right now. This is a marathon … a chaotic, emotional, humbling marathon that will give me a lot of grey hairs. Can we all agree to give ourselves some grace? We’re doing the best we can to raise well-rounded individuals who will spread goodness into this world.

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