While the Parenting Success Network works to hire another full-time blogger for this site, members of the Parenting Education staff at LBCC are going to be “guest blogging”. This week’s guest blogger is LeAnne Trask, the Pollywog Database and Social Media Coordinator. LeAnne and her husband, Terry, are the parents of three college-age sons.
As a young mom, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a “plan” for raising my children. What did I want them to grow up knowing? What did I want them to believe? What skills were they going to need? What kind of things did my kids need to be prepared for? What kind of Mom was I going to be?
Then, one day, I overhead a woman in my office talking about a “list” that her sister had created for each of her children. I LOVE lists, and I barraged her with questions about this list. A few days later, her sister called our office and my co-worker handed me the phone, and I introduced myself to Carol. I asked her to tell me about her lists, and Carol explained that she believed that there were things that her children needed to know, needed to be able to do, needed to be sure about, before they left her home–just like I did! I asked for examples. Carol said that she believed that each of her children should play a musical instrument–well. She wanted her son to be an Eagle Scout. She wanted each of her children to find a sport that they loved, and be good at it. She wanted her children to be able to cook a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner–well. She wanted her children to be able to sew, and not just a button! Carol told me many more things that she had on her lists, and I took lots of notes.
What a great gift Carol gave me! When an experienced mother shares her thoughts with a new mother, it gives us “fresh eyes” for looking at our situation and setting our goals. Her idea of using a to-do list for each of her kids was perfect for me because I was already a list-maker. One of the beauties of using this strategy is that list-making gives back a sense of control, plus there is a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in crossing things off your list.
I went home that night, and I started creating lists for each of my sons. Over the years, things have been added to those lists, and a few things removed from the lists, but overall, they were the game plan we used to raise our children. I took some of the things that Carol had on her list, like the importance of being an Eagle Scout and learning a musical instrument, and I added things that were personal to me, like attending Church regularly and participating in service projects. Learning to cook became a way of life at our house, and all of my sons know how to change their oil and tie a necktie!
Over the years, many mothers have given me advice and shared their experiences–good and bad–and I am grateful for every one of those shared experiences. I feel like we gave our kids not just a home and a place to hang their hat, but the benefit of our experience and the best of our knowledge. My hope is that we turned out kids that were as prepared for life as we could make them.