When I was a teenager, my parents wouldn’t let me get a job.
“School is your job right now,” my mother told me.
This annoyed me to no end, because my friends that had jobs could afford their own cars. Occasional babysitting money (especially after I gave 10% to church and had to put half of the remainder in savings) was not reliable or consistent enough to enable me to buy much of anything, let alone purchase and maintain my own car.
“What do you need your own car for?” My dad asked me. “If you really need to drive somewhere, just ask. You can borrow ours.”
So I went all the way through high school with neither job nor car, grumbling to myself and rolling my eyes about how unfair it was at every turn. Of course, with neither of those responsibilities, I had plenty of time for homework. I made the high honor roll every semester, no problem. On top of that, I joined a couple of clubs, played violin in an orchestra, and dabbled in community involvement and extracurriculars.
High school came to an end and I went off to college. With my good grades, extracurriculars, and musical talent, I received the Presidential scholarship at the college of my choice along with a small music scholarship. My husband, who went to the same college (and had both a job AND a car in high school), did not receive these financial perks. He graduated with over $45,000 in student loan debt. I graduated with $14,000.
Moreover, my husband and other friends who brought their cars to college got stuck driving their friends everywhere all the time. And you can bet those college kids rarely offered to chip in for gas money! As I watched my friends with cars play chauffeur, I realized for the first time how wise my parents had been in their decision to forbid me from working a part time job in favor of spending more time on my school work. They seemed unreasonable and unfair at the time, but made a decision that turned out to be best for me.
When my mom was young, she and her siblings used to run to their mother (my grandmother) demanding that she take sides whenever they had a disagreement. Whatever the squabble, my grandmother’s response would be the same: “Let’s pray about it.”
This used to aggravate my mom. She thought my grandmother was simply too weak-willed to take sides. My mom wished my grandmother would just step in and solve her disagreements with her siblings. Years later, however, my mom realized how wise my grandmother had been to 1. Respond to problems by first turning to the Lord in prayer. 2. Know when to stay out of disagreements between her children and let them work it out themselves. She came to appreciate my grandmother’s ability to keep her opinions to herself, especially when it came time to raise her own kids.
Now that I’m a mother, I wonder what rules and advice my children will remember when they’re older. Will they consider my parenting decisions to be wise ones once they are grown? They may roll their eyes and complain now, but someday it will pay off, right?
What parenting decisions did your mother or father make that you once considered annoying but now consider wise? Have you ever thanked them for those wise decisions?