Preparing our Children for the Weather of Life

Monday Morning R, our six-year-old, slipped on his jacket and sneakers, grabbed his backpack, and dashed down the driveway to catch the bus. 60 balmy degrees. The sun was shining, beautiful fall leaves of red, yellow and brown still hung high in the branches above. As the bus rumbled away, I looked into the sky and saw a dark cloud looming over the mountains. “Boy,” I thought to myself, “I’m glad I talked him out of wearing shorts today! It just might get a little chilly later.” And chilly it got. Within an hour of the bus screeching to our stop fall had all but been dashed to oblivion and winter had boldly taken stage. Temperatures dropped 30 degrees almost instantly and snowflakes as big as ping pong balls fluttered down from the sky. And there my little boy sat in his first grade classroom totally unprepared for what waited outside those big, red doors. His light spring jacket was certainly no match for this winter storm.

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As the two younger boys and I signed in at the front office to bring more suitable clothes for their brother, Mrs. R came over the intercom. “Inside recess today! Make sure to come in winter gear tomorrow so you can play outside!” “Oh good. I’m not the only neglectful mom who failed to check the weather,” I sighed in relief. As I drove back home, I thought about how our family theme this year is to be organized and prepared. Thoughts of preparedness and being more organized filled my mind. I failed at sending R off to school prepared for the winter weather, but what about the weather of life? Had I helped to equip him with the skills he’d need to face the world?

Would he know what to do when someone was being left out? What to say when he needed to stand up for what was right? How to encourage a friend? Stand down from a fight? Had I prepared him for times when friends and peers would say inappropriate things? For moments when he would be the only one with certain beliefs and feel so alone? When friends would tease him or choose to no longer play with him because of his clothes, his freckles, his backpack…the principles he values and holds dear?

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Had I prepared him, taught him, helped him to know?

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Had I said “I love you” enough? Does he know that he matters, he’s important, he’s kind and unique? Does he know that no matter what happens out there, he has a family who thinks he’s wonderful and a Father in Heaven that knows him and loves him more than he can imagine?

Did I prepare him for school today?

It’s my fervent prayer each morning that I have. That when the storms rage and the weather quickly turns, that I’ve helped to equip him with all he needs. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.

How do you prepare your children for the storms of life? I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts!

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Categories: children | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Preparing our Children for the Weather of Life

  1. What a beautiful post. I worry about this as well. We won’t always be there to protect them from hurt feelings and broken hearts. We won’t always be there when they need to make a decision of whether to choose the good path or the bad. We have to just hope that we instilled enough values and sense that they don’t feel that they need to conform and that they always come to us with these tough decisions.

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    • Yes! Thanks so much for your comment! I know they need to learn and experience on their own, but I just hope I’ve done enough. It’s hard to trust that we’ve done our job well, and trust that they will make those good decisions and learn from their mistakes. I’m thankful for other parents like you who worry about this too. It means that they have parents who care!

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  2. This is fabulous, Chelsi! I can so relate–the weather here just turned cold (but not quite as fast as it did there!) and it is amazing how from one moment to the next, things can change. One day I’m probably going to wake up and feel like my boy is a man and hope I did what I could to prepare him for the weather of life; all the wear and tear, bruises and scrapes that come from living fully. So grateful I read this post of your today! 🙂 It will keep me thinking!

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    • I’m trying to embrace the snow, but going from one extreme to the next really threw me off! But you’re right, life changes just like that too sometimes. Maybe preparing them is just simply exposing them to good, letting them know we love them, praying for them, and then trusting them to learn from their mistakes…which allowing them to fail is probably the hardest part of motherhood!! Something I struggle with. I think Parker will turn out to be a wonderful man, because he has a great mom who cares. 🙂

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  3. Keep in mind… kids adapt, often easier to conditions that parents/adults sense as threatening. I get the ‘being prepared for weather’ thing but in a larger life context, we all learn to weather what presents in our own unique and beautiful ways. Good mommying. 🙂

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    • That is so very true. I’ve watched my boys adapt to things that I know I would struggle with as an adult. And often I think they do well in situations despite all my parenting! You have certainly made me rethink this…I know I can’t hold their hand through all of their experiences, nor would I want to as I think life lessons are best discovered through our own eyes. Maybe I should focus more on letting them know I’m here no matter what happens and what decisions they make, trusting that they will learn and grow through their own trial and error. Thanks for helping me think outside the box, Eric. This is something I think about often, and I so appreciate your wise perspective.

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  4. I wonder about this philosophy that you need to be the one to prepare him for all these things. I think perhaps he came already prepared the moment he was put into your arms. I kind of view this thing called parenting a bit differently with my second son than I did the first time around…credit that change to a dozen years between my boys, me being older, or just the different boy I am raising, but I kind of see this whole parenting thing now as me getting to know him and introducing ideas and new things to him for him to work with and decide how they apply to him and the paths he will choose. I feel good pointing out what obviously works but I also really love to ask him what he’s learning from such and such or the directions he’s seeing come into play in his life.

    Not to say that I don’t try to mold him in the ways of safety or winter prep or whatever, but in the end, this is his road and this is my road (and my husband’s road) with him and it’s more that we’re walking alongside each other and helping out where possible than actually trying to instruct, you know? It’s actually quite amazing what he comes up with when he has that room…I’m sorry I never gave that to my first one, but again, he was a different sort…very much a working-inside-the-box kid who did well with structure, direction, and rules…….

    I think, though, with all I’ve read and just the concerns you mention in your own world that you have no worries that your boys will be anything but prepared when their life challenges arise…just remember, making a mistake isn’t the end of the world,,,,it’s the step up they will have the next time that sort of decision comes around….

    Guess I got a bit long-winded on here tonight, huh? Do love your thoughtful posts…..I think they get me rambling!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wise words from a mom who has been there through the weather of life with her sons. 🙂 I’ve been thinking about this post and the comments–yours and Eric’s especially–since yesterday, and I’ve concluded you are right. Maybe our job as mothers is to expose them to goodness, make sure they know we love them, that we are here no matter what, and we trust that they will make good decisions. Then welcome them back with open arms when they don’t. I think some of the most poisonous words for parents to say are “I told you so.” When we learn life’s lessons through our own experiences, our own mistakes, and our own trial and error, we truly learn. So often I want to protect my sons from the scary things in life, save them from all the pain and grief. But if I were to do that, I’d deprive them of so many life lessons they might learn along the way. That’s a tough one to remember. Simply getting to know them. That’s the real key!

      Torrie, your insight into motherhood always warms my heart. Thank you for reminding me of what’s really important.

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