As a parent of two teenagers I am noticing the end of a phase in parenting. Teens move from parental support systems to friends taking the prominent role in their lives. I like it but I miss the times when they looked up to me in the way a child does.
It is hard to be a parent to teens. The lives of teenagers move fast and I am starting to realize that the days are short and soon they will be on their own. I fondly remember trips in our RV, preschool and Jr. High graduations, music concerts, learning to ride their bikes, and other special times together. They are times I will never have back again. Still I don’t think I enjoyed them as well as I could have if I’d have paid better attention. I’m sure I missed a lot. What if I’d have noticed more?
Going through this parenting change I want to make memories that will last. I realize most of the old types of memory opportunities mentioned earlier can’t be brought back. Vacations with the teens are almost done and so are the daily interactions except when morning and evening paths cross, church on Sundays and occasional family things. They have their own agenda now and Jennifer and I move into the background in their lives.
Nostalgic thoughts make me want to do better in appreciation of each moment. Life continues and we forget to enjoy the things that happen along the way. I want to value the moments better. I want to savor them more.
At the same time appreciation for each moment makes me think about work and how I need to do better professionally too. I want to celebrate success more. Support employees in difficult and special times more fully. Those interactions and resulting memories can inform and impact the future.
What I mean is memories of good things give me self confidence, focus and perspective for today plus better vision for the future. I get to choose if I focus on the good or the bad or if I just forget. I have realized I do best when I remember the good. I have to keep moving forward learning and growing from the good and the bad situations I experience.
Instead of crawling along the ground I want to stand up tall above the weeds and see more, notice more, enjoy more. I pray that this holiday season you and I are able to stand up above the gifts, decorations, family obligations, and events to value the wonder of the season of Christmas and the start of a New Year; Take notice of the blessings we have been given.
Here is one way to notice more and remember better. Each night before going to sleep or each morning before starting do two things (or before each team meeting at work).
- Name (or write down) three new things you are thankful for (I call these blessings.)
- Consider the things that caused them (In other words why or how they happened or what makes that thing a blessing for you.)
- Savor these thoughts and think about them as you proceed.
Are you are feeling down and can’t come up with three blessings. Start
with just one or ask a friend to help you notice your blessings. You’ll get better.
This technique teaches our brains to be happy and appreciate what we have. It helps us find the things in life that matter. When we do this we enrich our mind and our thinking about the future too!
Give it a try for a week and let me know how it goes.