Since I had so many people ask if I would print the rest of the parts of this article, I decided to try to put one up everyday till I finish. But I do have other duties to tend to as a pastor so please do not get frustrated with me if I miss a day in there. With that I will move on to Part 2.
If I Were To Raise My Family Again Pt 2
I feel the need to continually state that I am by no means the perfect father. My wife and I believe we did a decent job raising our children and we have no regrets. We have six amazing daughters, four wonderful son in laws and three awesome grandchildren. Do not take this article as if I know and nobody else does. I know there is always room for improvement. I am also aware that there are many great parents who have things they could add to these twelve parts that could go on the list as well. As I stated in part one these are things, after looking back with the right attitude, I see are more important than I realized while raising my children.
So here is number #2
I would spend more quality time getting to know them. This is a little harder to describe. I would spend much more time just being with them, playing, conversing, just being together. I am not talking about more time with them, I'm talking about really being there with them “In The Moment”. Being in their presence and learning to understand their own unique presence as a person. The uniqueness that makes them, them. I will try to explain with a couple of examples.
When I first started spending time with God, I mean actually setting apart time in the early morning for Him and Him only, there were those moments when I could feel His tangible presence more than other mornings. I got to know Him during these times. I got to know a more intimate, deeper God. Those moments became landmarks to me. I would walk away with a greater sense that I knew Him more personally, but also I came away with the sense He knew me more personally. The relational part grew and it wasn't just a discipline or exercise of spending time with Him. Relationally I knew Him better, and deeper. I sensed His presence. I got to know His personality that was attached to all the scriptures I knew. With God I remember when He wasn't just God almighty but a person to me. Now don't try to throw some kind of theological jab at me, I believe He is still fully God. But sitting in His presence meant we went from acquaintance to a person with a personality. His personality helped me understand the scriptures better, because now I knew the author.
Another example is when you have spent time with an acquaintance and in that time spent, more of a friendship developed. Due to that time getting to know the person you began to understand them and even know their quirks, which were a unique part of them. Your relationship went from acquaintance to where you got to truly know the person. You knew what being in their presence was like and you enjoyed it. If you're married hopefully you have these moments with your spouse. I enjoy my wife, we enjoy our time together. We are absolutely free to be who we are with each other, never fearing being exposed or misunderstood. I know the person of my wife, and everything that goes with being in her presence and I enjoy her presence.
I hope this makes a little more sense. As I said, this one is a little harder to explain. It's those moments where you know that you know them whether a person or God and it becomes personal. Those moments are what I enjoy and have actually learned to love and I live for those moments, with God, my wife, and my children, and now my grandchildren.
Of course as everyone knows, your children are obviously not alike. My daughters have such diverse personalities, but each of them are unique in their own ways. This uniqueness is the blueprint of who they are. It's who God made them. As a parent you get to know your children, all of their likes, dislikes, and little quirks. All of those things that make them who they are and separates them from their siblings. I always enjoyed their distinct personalities. It's what made them, them. I would not change any part of their personalities. When wrong I would correct and discipline, but never try to change who they were. I love who they were and are today. But looking back at the time I spent with them, I would allow a greater freedom for them to just be themselves. A greater freedom to be themselves with me, instead of concentrating on my parental skills. I would want even more of those “In The Moment” times where I get to touch their own unique personalities. Looking back, I would devote more time focusing on those moments of connecting with them as the person God made them to be with the time I did spend with them. I would spend more time enjoying being in their presence, enjoying their little personalities that made them who they were which is who they are today. This is what I mean by “In The Moment”.
I would devote more time and energy focusing on them as individuals, with no agendas. Not doing it out of some sort of discipline or obligation on my part, but just to know them. Just like there are no two people who have the same fingerprint, I would put more time into understanding their personality fingerprint. I would encourage and tell them, God made them unique, and that’s okay, be free to be that person.
Think about the wonderful moment when a person really understands for the first time that God is okay with who they are as a person. I remember when I knew for the first time that God liked me. I always knew God loved me but one day it came to me, "He liked me", just me, for who I am in all my quirkiness. I will even tell people God loves me and I believe He likes me too. He likes my personality, and He understands who I am as a person. I knew He always knew me, but what a powerful truth it was for me when I realized it for the first time, that He was okay with who I was in His presence. God loved and liked me for just me. I remember when I realized that He liked the way I thought, the way I joked around, and what made me, me. God enjoyed my presence just as much as I enjoyed those moments in His presence.
So in looking back this is what I would do if I were to raise them again. I would spend more time getting to know my children, enjoying their little personalities. I see this in such a greater way, now. There is this wonderful person God created and I get to enjoy them by devoting my time to them. Just me enjoying them as that special unique person God made them to be and giving a greater grace to them to be themselves with all their quirks, likes, and dislikes. I remember all the moments I did have with them and still do from time to time. But wow, I would definitely live for more of those "In The Moment" times with my children more than I ever did, moments of getting to be in their presence. Letting them know Daddy likes being with you as a person. Enjoying their unique God given personality of them just being themselves, but being themselves with me.