Thursday, March 15, 2012

Another Point of View


Remember, I'm supposed to be reflecting on my parenting journey. So, in today's post, I'd like to share one of the most important parenting lessons my daughter taught me. Here's what happened:

One of my children may have missed her calling; she would have been a great lawyer. As a child, whenever she came at me with, “Dad, have you considered . . . ?” I knew I was up for a challenge. Even as a youngster, she had this remarkable ability to think outside the box.

She was incredibly persuasive, and as I listened to her, I found myself changing my point of view. She was convincing, this daughter of mine. In the end, she may have taught me one of my most important parenting lessons: Flexibility.

Though it happened with regularity, I can remember one event in particular, where her perspective changed our family. It all started with vacation plans. Raelene and I wanted to head to Hawaii; she wanted the whole family to take a “mission vacation.”

What kind of kid wants to trade Hawaii for a mission trip?

Though I did my best talking, not sunshine, not surfing, not sandy beaches would change her mind. As she presented her case, I began to listen, to really listen, and I found myself moving toward her point of view. Our family took a mission vacation.

There I saw my kids do things they’d never done at home. They grew in compassion, purpose, and empathy. While Raelene and I cleaned toilets and worked in the kitchen we saw our kids become more like the Savior. It was hard, hot, uncomfortable work; but looking back, my grown kids say it was one of the best things our family ever did.

I have to admit; it wasn’t my idea. It came from “the persuader.” And if I hadn’t been flexible, if I hadn’t listened, if I hadn’t been willing to do something other than dictate the parental plan I might have missed out on the best vacation ever! At least the kids think so.

What about you? What lessons have you learned from your kids?

Greg Sutherland, DDS MS
(With Bette Nordberg)

5 comments:

  1. Wow, what a great story! Raising disciples! hope someday my kids can teach me a great lesson like this one. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I think it's so important for kids to know they they have a voice and also that we allow their thoughts and opinions to be heard. I think your story really is a great reminder of that!

    Having kids has showed me how to love unconditionally- something that is not always easy to do. They haven't done anything to teach me how to do this, I just love them no matter what they do because they are my children, the way Christ loves us. This is something I have to work at with other people because it's not always easy ;-)Not sure if this is considered a lesson learned, but I think it's something we all need to strive to do.

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  3. To Ashley. It's true we hope to raise disciples. The funny thing is, we can't always predict exactly how it will happen. Sometimes THEY surprise US! And to MDailey, I love your idea of unconditional love. It is true that parenting demands that we rise to new levels of love. I wonder, sometimes, if that was part of God's plan for the family? Did he plan it to grow us at the same time we grow our kids?

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  4. YES! We are never meant to stay the same. I think in order to grow our kids we have to model growth ourselves. Our kids model us whether we realize it or not. This should put some pressure on us as parents to model Christ- although I do think it is good for our kids to see we have imperfections.

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  5. I loved reading this one. God is calling us to take each of our kiddos on a missions trip before they graduate! I can't wait and we are making plans! I pray this will happen for us as well:

    "There I saw my kids do things they’d never done at home. They grew in compassion, purpose, and empathy. While Raelene and I cleaned toilets and worked in the kitchen we saw our kids become more like the Savior. It was hard, hot, uncomfortable work; but looking back, my grown kids say it was one of the best things our family ever did."

    Boy, Dr. S, you and Raelene could write a book! I guess you kind of are! :) More teen advice please! We have three of them now! Yay!

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