Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Big Kids Vs.The Little Kids

When I was a new parent (are you shocked I can remember back that far?), I had this idea that there was a right way and a wrong way to raise children.  And I thought my way was the right one, of course.  I had it all figured out. It was all drawn out in black and white, and it was good enough for anyone if it worked for me.

I laugh now. {snort}

You see, back when I thought that way?  Well, we were only about one or two kids into our family; I hadn't been around my own life very long yet.  I didn't know that before all was said and done we would raise every single one of our children differently from the rest.  And none of them by the blueprint I'd had in my mind in the beginning.  You see, there was no way around the fact that these children of ours are all so dollgarn different from each other!

 Not only that, but as the years went on, Dan and I were different!  And the family dynamics for each child at each individual stage of his or her life was different, too.  Heck!  The world is different now than it was in 1989!  Though the basics have remained the same for us since then in relation to faith, morals, and basic values, our family and how we manage it has morphed and fluctuated and changed with the times and the people. Which is normal and good.

It really is, kids.

You see, it's been a popular complaint among our oldest children, this discrepancy in parenting techniques. Actually, it's a common whine in pretty much any big family I've ever met. The oldest kids always think the youngest kids are getting a break. The youngest kids, in return, think the oldest kids are mean.  And they don't think they're getting things one bit easier.

And, believe me, they're not.

I have no doubts about this, and no guilt. They say with age comes wisdom, and I am here to unequivocally maintain that this is true. (Because I know what unequivocally means and I can spell it....)  No, but, really, it's a fact. In our forties, Dan and I have way more wisdom than energy available for parenting. And I really believe that's part of the Divine Plan.  God is so good; those who give their reproductive lives completely to His Hands know a poetic symbiosis unique to big families.  This is one example: with our first handful of kids, we needed the energy of youth to corral all those little ones more than we really needed wisdom.  In the early
days, it was all about perseverance and consistency.  Now, with all ten children at ten different stages of childhood and early adulthood, energy is a nice bonus, but what we really need is wisdom to properly coordinate and juggle and prioritize everything and everybody. And still have a little oomph left over for one another as a married couple.   It takes smarts, and lots of planning, yes indeed.

But in the end, though the road to the finish line for each child has been different, with God's help (and the children's cooperation), everyone ends up even.

So, you see, Big Kids, our parenting of you vs. the Littles has been different but equal.  We're just as mean as we ever were; we're just more efficient about it. Have no fear: with the instinct hatched at the same time you were, we know exactly the right way to be mean to each and every one of you. Muwahahaha!

And we also know how to love each of you best.


auntie said...

So refreshing to read this. My big kids think that my two youngest are so spoiled. I agree that when we were young we had the energy to keep at them. Now we are old (older than you two) and with that comes creativity and wisdom. You keep it up. From what I see and read I like your kids and would be happy to call them my own.

Cathy Keller said...

Yes...that's just the way it is!!!Seems to work that way very time! Thanx for the memories!!! Cathy