What does it take in parenting the next generation to recognize and meet Life's challenges today? I've had to recognize recently that in order to be ready to guide and counsel the next generation to success takes a strong character set. This applies to single or married parenthood. I'm very proud of my two children I raised in my first marriage, a boy and girl, they took what I said and taught to heart and ran with it and both have succeeded in their respective lives. Then life changed for me, I divorced and found love again with a woman that had teenage children. The problem was as I look back over the past thirteen years they never had the same parenting I had provided for my children and in the first few years did not want me to change or alter what they were doing, in and out of school. I was confident that I could eventually break through and show them what they needed to do to make the right adjustments in thought and deed to be successful. But I was wrong in one thing, I could not make them change that was their decision to make and I would not succeed with just showing love, counsel and words of guidance no matter how hard I tried.
What I have done in the past few years is watch these kids make the wrong choices and spin in and out of control only seeing brief changes which I encouraged them to continue. I began to feel like a failure and despondent, but I realized after some reasoning and research that it wasn't me who had failed, it was the fact they never had a strong father figure and the mother had spent the majority of her time working and providing life's essentials and having four children to raise all going different directions with different friends she got lost and out of touch with them. End of story.
You see the father was and still is an alcoholic and did not and still doesn't have the strong character to accept responsibility and be accountable for his constant abandonment of his family to focus on his own needs.
Okay I have to say to single parents, balance is the key, whether you are a father or mother. Do not expect anyone else to build character in your children, except you, that is a mistake you cannot afford to make for them. The values needed are love, courage to do the hard things before you try to enjoy the results. You get what you focus on trust me, work ethics, focus, love, praise and guidance will give the needed results. I learned that early on in my life when my parents divorced and thank God my mother was of strong character, even though I strayed for a few years after parts of my dreams were dashed by a necessary move to another city. I fell and allowed myself to be tempted into drugs and alcohol which almost destroyed my future.
But when I reached the age of twenty and looked in the mirror and saw who I had become and life may just pass me by and I would never have what I desired as I had planned in High School. The things my mother taught me came back into focus and I became a success and raised my children with the same principles. Focused attention on goals, love, guidance, work ethics and praise with boundaries they had to stay within. Wow, it worked! My mother was right in teaching me those values and I passed them on to the next generation. I will not ever say it was easy for my mother and it, at times, was hard for me moving as fast as I could up and up in my chosen career in Data Processing.
More than anything when I was a Sophomore in High School I wanted to attend a University because learning and sports were an insatiable thing in my life, I just couldn't soak up enough, I was driven by my desire to make my mother proud of me. Alas we moved to the bigger city after that year and my focus an interest changed, the School was large and I no longer felt comfortable in the sports programs and I only need to finish my Junior year and I would graduate, I thought. Despite having two study halls that Junior year I was informed as the last semester was nearing the end I needed World History in that School District. Wow, you mean I had to attend my Senior year only to take one class? Crash!!! The next three years I wasted in disappointment, rebellion and lost focus of what I wanted to achieve. But that was my decision, my responsibility and when I reached twenty years of age I had to be accountable because I was taught those values.
In a marriage it would make sense that this task would be easier, but that may not be true, we all are raised differently and may lack the knowledge of these basic values to teach. I believe it needs recognizing that these things are not taught in any school, it is learned behavior from a strong parent or resolve in your own experience to change yourself.
Now I am a grand parent facing those same challenges after being charged with raising another generation, two girls from one of those failures I believed I was responsible for and not that adult that brought the girls into the world.
I said earlier I felt like a failure and despondent that I did not succeed with the teenagers I was left to raise. Now however, I am charged with teaching the values of love, guiding, counseling, teaching work ethics and praise to these girls to see them have the right tools to succeed in life.
If you know the road, navigating is easy if you keep everything centered! Never look back, but only at the challenges in the future and be willing to watch any changes in the road map as they grow, things change and a strong parent must be willing to deny personal needs for the needs of their children. That's right, you and only you are responsible for their direction and you must stay accountable for the distance they can go in their lives.
Wisdom comes with experience, keep learning as they grow and they will possess the right tools to pass on to the next generation!