My kids would tell you that they were coached and given advice their entire lives. My husband and I talked often about the importance of having a strong character, being cheerful, solid, strong, and content, having a good work ethic, having God-sized dreams, being resilient, and maintaining faith in the Lord. We took great care in trying to teach them the things that we believed would give them a better life.
As the kids became young adults we encouraged them to seek spouses who possessed the same kinds of qualities. Our very wise children took our advice and they each married individuals with those character qualities and so much more. I gave my entire heart to each of my children for over 20 years…and it gives me great peace to be able to pass the baton along to someone I am fully confident will do the same.
NOW – It is an unspoken rule that as kids become young adults parents are no longer supposed to coach or give advice unless they are asked. I believe this with all of my heart. I believe that as our kids become young adults, we as parents should move from the role of “parenting” into the role of being a friend, a support, and an encourager. And never-ever-EVER – should we give advice to the spouses of our kids.
Well…there is something that you may not know about me. My kids and their spouses know this about me and therefore this will not surprise them at all. I tend to be a rule breaker…even when they are my own rules. Today I am going to dip my toe into unchartered waters….it’s risky I know. Today I am going to give some advice and make a few pleas to the spouses of my kids. And just to be somewhat clever I am going to do it alphabetically.
Ashley, Nikki & Greg – I think you all know how much I love you. You are the best thing that ever happened to our kids. This is for you…from your very inappropriate mom-in-law.
A – Ask me to hang out anytime. I love spending time with you and feel honored when you want to. Ask me to babysit anytime. I love my grandkids and feel privileged to be a part of their lives.
B – Be strong. Be strong in faith. Stand strong when it’s hard – and stand alone when necessary. When my children are weary – please encourage them so that they can remain strong too.
C – Call and text my children during the day just to say “I love you” or to let them know that you are thinking of them. I know that it is not your responsibility to initiate this, but just in case they sometimes forget – would you do that? They will do the same in return.
D – DO NOT make me wait to find out the sex of your babies. God did not bless me with patience and it will nearly kill me… please, please, don’t make me wait. (I am half kidding, Nikki..but just half…)
E – Escape. Once in awhile you are going to need a little escape from the demands and responsibilities of your life. Take some time to pursue a hobby, be with your friends, or to just be alone. Doing some things for yourself will refresh you and rejuvenate your spirits. My children will need to do the same.
F – Forgive my children. They will make mistakes.
G – Give my grandchildren loving discipline. Please don’t let them be obnoxious. Kids who are disciplined are better liked by teachers, coaches, parents, and the other kids. Discipline teaches a child that they are capable of more and it helps them to be more emotionally healthy when they are grown.
H – Help my children to understand your needs. Tell them what is going on in your life; what is hard, what you are concerned about, or what you are frustrated about. Tell them the things they can do that would help you. Once they see a need they are really good at responding.
I – I love to hear what is going on in your lives and the lives of your kids. You wouldn’t believe how it makes my day when you send a picture, text me what happened, or send me things that make me laugh. (I fully enjoy that each of you has a wicked sense of humor!) Please let me know how I can pray. I pray for you always. Anything that is important to you is important to me.
J – Join my children in their dreams. Dreaming is good. Inspire my children. Inspire them to reach for the stars and to believe that anything is possible. Make plans together but hold them loosely so that God may move as He desires.
K – Keep hugging and holding hands with my children. Keep sleeping in the same bed and keep those adorable babies – out! Keep in the habit of kissing every day….it helps to keep your love alive.
L – Laugh a lot and have fun! Your days will pass quickly and you don’t want to miss them. A happy home will make your kids – happy.
M – Make sure that your marriage is always the highest priority. Before work – before your friends – before your hobbies – even before your kids. The best thing you can do for your kids is to have a strong marriage.
N- Never walk away from an argument. Never let my children walk away either. Arguments can be good as long as you are fighting for things to be better – not fighting to win. Talk it all the way through until you understand each other. Stay up all night if you have to. Once you work things out, your marriage will be even stronger than it was before.
O – Once a week carve out some time for just the two of you. Go on a date or make it a date night at home. When you have time alone you can get down into the deeper layers of what is going on in your life and your heart. Make time to have fun, reconnect, and to be reminded of all of the reasons that you love each other.
P – Protect your marriage ahead of time. Your marriage is sacred and it demands sacred boundaries. Do not text – talk on social media – have coffee – or email friendly conversations with the opposite sex. Please remind my children of this very important principle. (…and so will I…)
Q – Quiet your heart and have a daily quiet time with the Lord. Seek His daily guidance and pray for your family. Encourage my children to grow deeper in their faith. Time spent with the Lord will have a tremendous impact on your lives.
R – Respect each other. Speak highly of each other and speak kindly to each other.
S – Someday when my husband and I enter the heavenly gates – do not let my children stay sad. Our greatest happiness is seeing you happy in your lives – not sad. We are confident that what they have with you will carry them through until we meet again.
T – Tell my children what you appreciate about them. Tell them what they do well. Tell them that you believe they can handle it. Tell them you are there for them. Tell them that you will get through it together. Tell them how much you love them. Tell them the things that they desperately need to hear.
U – Understand my children. Please look for the good and try to understand them. Help them to understand you. God created us each different and at times it can be challenging. The better you understand each other and learn to embrace your differences, the better relationship you will have.
V – Victory. Always remember that God is faithful even when you cannot see it. When you feel weak remember that victory is found in Christ Jesus. The battle has already been won and the Lord is in control. Hang onto your hope in Him.
W – Work as to the Lord. Thank you for working so hard – I notice. My children notice too. Thank you for taking such good care of your families.
X – Xpect the best from my children. They are capable of a great deal. Please don’t let them be less than what they are capable of. Love expects the best.
Y – You are an answer to prayer. When the kids were young we used to pray for their future spouses. We prayed for you often before we even met you. You are the perfect fit for my child. You bring out all of the best things in my child and I love the way that you love him/her. I thank God over and over for YOU.
Z – When it comes to me – don’t zip your lips. If I hurt you or annoy you – tell me or tell my children so that I can fix it. I love you so very much and always want to maintain a strong relationship. I respect your opinions and I want to make personal changes when they are needed. If my husband is bugging you – tell my children – who will tell me – and then I will tell him! We will get a little crazier as we get older -so we need you to help minimize our craziness!
Thanks for loving my kids so well, I love you all.
Until next time,