Raising Four Boys

This Sunday is Father’s Day, and it is a little special for me.  This is the last one that my youngest will be living at home.  This reality has me reflecting on the lessons I have learned while raising four boys over the previous 23 years.

  1. God makes each one of us unique.  Each of my boys is a unique individual.  We tried to raise them alike, but they all turned out so different. 
  2. All my advice is highly questionable.  I know what worked for my boys and me, but there are few universal principles because every kid is unique.  (Remember that when you give advice!)
  3. Sports loses its appeal.  My boys were all good athletes.  But everything they were told about it was half-truths to total lies.  Scholarships are a scam, and the trophies you win mean extraordinarily little in the course of a lifetime.  Plan your life accordingly. 
  4. The joy of brotherly love.  Nothing makes their mom and me happier than watching our boys connect with each other.  We pray it lasts a lifetime.    
  5. Family time is precious.  Enjoy every minute of it.  Put the phone down.  Listen.  Talk.  This life is but a mist, and the years a child lives at home seem like a few hours.  Slow down and savor the moments your family is together.
  6. Give children room to fail … and succeed.  It is hard to watch someone you love make a fool of themselves, fail or come up short.  Those are ways we genuinely grow.  Back off and stop helicoptering your kids, and let them learn some lessons the hard way.
  7. Build lasting friendships first.  Everyone is telling young people about dating and sex, but what they really need is close friends who will stay with them over a lifetime.  Cultivate your kid’s friendships far more than relationships with the opposite sex. 
  8. The ultimate joy of faith.  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (and no more incredible pain than when they are not).
  9. It’s tough when they leave home, but you will both be ready.  I have shed a few tears with each child as we dropped them off at college.  They were a mixture of sadness and joy. 
  10. Adult children are fun too.  I enjoy sharing funny texts with my boys.  We watch games together when we are able.  Now we talk about adult things, and I still enjoy every minute I get with them, and I am sure this Father’s Day will be no exception.  

These are just some of the things I have learned along the way.  Perhaps you have some lessons about parenting you would like to share, especially as we head into Father’s Day.  Please comment and let everyone know.  We are all in this together. 

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