**Post by guest blogger Rusty Rea**
I started working on my continuation of the ‘Choosing your battles’ theme, and quite honestly I mysteriously found my way to YouTube – funny how that happens. Well, I’m not quite sure the chain of recommended videos I followed, but I found myself enamored with the clips of military parents surprising their children. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep (Olivia, our middle child was sick last night), but I was getting all choked up (or maybe I’m not as tough as I used to be… yes, I also cried at the end of Toy Story 3… yes, Kelsi I did just publicly admit that)… [note to self: I have a feeling that that confession will haunt me somewhere down the road, perhaps reconsider before posting]
Whether it was the lack of sleep or some pre-middle-age softening of my psyche, the videos did serve as an inspiration to reinforce how valuable we are to our children. I remembered hitting this notion a while back and re-read my post ‘Rock Their World’. That was a timely re-read for me…
I have been working 50-60 hours per week for about the past 6 months, and the time I do get to be with Kelsi and the Kiddos is usually stuck in ‘just manage’ mode.
Today I want to focus on YOU getting a better understanding of who YOU are to THEM. This is HUGE. I could give you a list of tips, tricks, and boundaries for parenting; and many of my posts provide strong information. But, if YOU don’t know who you are, and who you are to them; then all you have is systematic parenting (which isn’t a good thing).
What do I mean by ‘systematic parenting’? Well… simply put, it’s when you find some parenting technique or philosophy, dissect it, know all of the ins and outs, and follow it to a ‘T’. If you never integrate YOU into those philosophies, then you still haven’t come to grips with the fact that ‘YOU are the instruction manual you wish your kids came with.’
Previously I mentioned my logic of ‘imperfect parents perfectly parenting imperfect kids’ (say that 5 times fast!). We have all seen those parents who could use a little guidance in their approach, and a little push to get a stronger obedience response from their kids. Have you ever noticed, though, that there are some parents that, despite some pretty heavy parental shortcomings, still have some dynamic kids and a relationship with them that fosters kindness and love? I am convinced it is because those parents still understand how much they mean to their kids. Those parents could use a good dose of systematic parenting; but on the flip side there are plenty of parents who need a good dose of just being ‘YOU’.
A good test to see if your kids are getting enough of you is to check their humor, interests, and personality– they should be little ‘yous’ (not completely, but if you don’t see any of your humor in your child, then quite honestly they aren’t getting enough of you). In our house we’re always flashing our ‘Family gang signs’ (AKA- the ‘I love you’ sign), or sneaking a wink or high-five. We use family friendly slang like ‘you snooze you loose’ ; ‘wheels-up time baby’ ; ‘check ya on the flip side’ ; ‘love you forever….plus…forever….plus….half an hour’….. These totally fit both Kelsi’s and my personalities, and we see our kids following our model. They are getting the ‘You‘ that only Kelsi and I can provide.
Being the perfect parent doesn’t mean being perfect…. Your kids want YOU….. but you need to know who you are to them.
Now. I’m going to stop there. Below is one of the zillion videos you can find on YouTube of military parents returning home. Watch it, then get lost in the recommended videos after it. I don’t know any of these people, they do not endorse CheekyBums or anything we are affiliated with…
Watch these kids, this is what a parent means to a kid…. this is what you mean to your kids…. give them ‘YOU’.