Parenting: The Greatest Lessons

My youngest daughter called me one day to let me know she had been suspended from school. Her mother and I were separated at the time and I could hear my ex-wife in the background screaming. My daughter was a senior in high school. She wasn’t a child. She was a young woman and was demanding she be treated as such. Punishing her, in my mind, wasn’t going to accomplish much. This was the conversation we calmly had:

Me: So what happened?
Her: I got caught skipping school.
Me: Let me ask you a couple of questions. You tried smoking. What happened?
Her: I got caught.
Me: You tried drinking. What happened?
Her: I got caught.
Me: You tried smoking pot. What happened?
Her: I got caught.
Me: You tried skipping school. What happened?
Her: I got caught.
Me: Do you not see a pattern here?
Her:(Giggling) Yep.
Me: You have four months until graduation. Can’t you hunker down and get it done?
Her: I can.
Me: Then do it.
Her: Okay.

And that was the end of it. She graduated. That chapter closed and we moved on to the next challenge. Yes, there have been other bumps in the road along the way. But, she’s getting it together now more than ever.

The vast majority of parenting is done by the seat of our britches. We seldom know ahead of time what our children will do, what they will say, how they will react. Since there isn’t a training manual handed out at the time of their birth, there are few reference materials with a corresponding chapter to flip to and find the answers.

I tell my children and anyone who has children to keep in mind that they are the experts on their children. They know them better than anyone else. Although it is wise to consider the counsel of others, it is best to go with your gut, your heart, in decision making regarding your kids.

The greatest lessons we learn in life aren’t the ones our parents teach us. They’re the ones we learn on our own. We are only here to prepare them for whatever lies ahead, providing a moral compass for their own Journey. Letting them go and letting them grow is difficult, but, it is what we are required to do.


Husband. Father. Grandfather. Life enthusiast. Life coach. Commentator. Photographer. Capturing My world. Sharing My perspectives. You may also enjoy my new blog: where I sound off on a variety of topics.

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