Yesterday, I listed 5 reasons my parents did an awesome job raising us… things I want to instill in my kids as they grow.
Today, I continue the list:
6. We took a lot of family vacations and did tons of activities together. Even when there wasn’t a ton of money in the budget, my parent saved up for cost conscious trips to enjoy time together. Two things are important about that sentence… they kept to a budget and they made it a priority. I want my kids to experience downtime within our family. Long weekends at the beach or weeklong vacations abroad where we learn more about the world around us and experience new things. It’s so important to have time together just enjoying each other’s company.
Because my mom grew up in a family where money was very tight, she decided that when she could she would find ways for her family and kids to experience things that she wanted to experience growing up. That means we got to go to fun waterparks/amusement parks together, we visited Disney, went on vacations all over, took ski trips and more. It was so important that we get to experience as much from life as possible.
7. My parents were very strict when we were little so we knew what the expectations were from a young age. As a Bradbury you were expected to pitch in and help around the house, keep your room clean, work hard in school, follow through on your commitments, tell the truth, be home when you were told to, etc. Because they were strict with us when we were young, they were able to loosen the reins as we were older and make some of our own decisions. And even with the freedom, I still knew what was expected of me and wanted to make my parents proud of the choices I made. This doesn’t mean I didn’t make any bad choices, I definitely did, but I always knew immediately afterwards that I’d made a bad choice and I wanted to make better choices in the future. In the same way, I want to focus on the values and beliefs we’re instilling in our kids from a young age and make sure they are very clear of our expectations as part of the Dean family so that they can have some more freedoms down the road as they get older.
8. I want my kids to know the value of a dollar. One of the biggest lessons my parents taught us as kids was the importance of being fiscally smart with our money. That means we saved up for things and only bought them when we could pay for them. With the number of young kids that get into financial holes, I want my kids to know from a young age the importance of only spending what you have. And saving money for emergencies. And tithing at church. And feeling the freedom of being able to sleep at night because people aren’t tracking them down for money they owe.
9. My parents did a great job of keeping things honest with us. I know that we could ask them anything and everything. They were very open with us about questions we had and why things were the way they were. I want my kids to ask me anything and know that I’ll give a real answer. I want to be open with them about where babies come from, who God is and the other big questions in life. I don’t want my kids to feel that I’m always going to give them a “not now” response when they come to me. I want a standing open-door policy.
Some of my favorite memories of growing up were long chats with my dad when he would tuck me in at night. Even into my middle school years I would talk to him about school, people on my sports team, boys I liked, etc. It was such a great connection between father and daughter and I want my boys to experience the same connection with their dad and I.
10. And they raised us in a family where it was ok to have a big sense of humor and learn how to laugh at yourself and have your own confidence. While there were many times growing up that I DIDN’T love the embarrassing stories or the way my dad would be his outgoing self around my friends, I am so grateful for it as a grown woman.
My mom also did a great job of showing us how to be confident people. She did things her way and didn’t feel like she had to do what all the other moms were doing – it was ok not to have on full make up to leave the house. It was ok to get into the mud with the kids. She also is one of the funniest people I know and definitely was the source of a ton of laughter in our home.
Being able to laugh at ourselves is one of the best things our parents taught us. It gives you a thicker skin and really puts things into perspective for what you should really stress about in life.
So there you have it. 10 things that I want to instill in our boys as we raise them. I know it will be no easy feat and my parents made raising kids look easy, but I’m accepting the challenge to raise to awesome, respectful, confident and loving boys.
(And next week, check out 5 things I’m going to differently from how I was raised… no this won’t be a bashing on my parents, just areas that I want to focus on more or try differently with my kids…)