Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An old letter

The other day while cleaning out the storage room I came across this old letter that I wrote - apparently to myself. It is handwritten (it's from before we had a computer) and is dated October 20, 1988. It seems like such basic stuff, but this was a pretty big time for me. Just about everything in my life was changing... drastically. Carrie was three years old, Isaac was four months old, and this would have been just a couple of weeks before I gave my life to Christ. I was in the midst of a real spiritual struggle and on the cusp of an extreme direction change one way or the other. While I had absolutely no recollection of writing this when I found it, I do remember now that I started to write quite a few things during this time. I wish I had kept more of them. This seems so weird to read now; to think that I actually had to write stuff like this down; but writing stuff like this was really quite instrumental in my life during this time of major repentance. Anyway, here is the letter, just as it was written:

Our daughter looks to us as her parents. She thinks we know things we don't. She thinks we can do things we can't. She thinks we control things that we have no control over. We are like gods to her, but we are not.

When we yell at her, she thinks yelling is how to communicate.
When we laugh at her, she thinks laughing at people is funny.
When we grow impatient with her, she thinks impatience is an end.
When we become angry with her, yell at her, have no time for her, and tell her to wait, wait, wait, she does not know we love her.

Nothing is more important right now than having her know she has Love. The rest of her life could be shaped by her perception of life, her parents and herself, at this time. She is very impressionable now, and we need to concentrate on giving her the right impression. She needs to know that everything she does is not wrong. That NO is not the answer to every question & action. She needs to get our attention in ways other than by acting badly. We need to show her patience, understanding, and love. We need to realize our time with her is not wasted, it is an investment in the future.

We need to realize that she is the most important thing in her life right now. She does not realize other things may take precedence. She is not aware other people have feelings. She does not understand now and later. Later never comes.

Let's just try and show a little more patience with her. Try and be more aware of how she might perceive our actions. Try and make a little more time for her. Try and say "no" a lot less. Try and say "later" a lot less. Let's try and enjoy things with our daughter, while she still wants to do them with us.


Jim said...

You know what's really interesting? I am older than you (not by a lot - a few years), and I have been reminding myself a LOT of very similar things over the past few months with our three youngest, all full-on in the midst of their teen years (15, 13, 13). So sometimes that stuff seems "basic," but we get so caught up in "raising good kids" that we need to stop and recognize "and make sure they grow up human, and LOVED" is in there, too.

In fact, am planning to help my 15 y.o. play hooky from school soon. Just 'cause. :)

Carrie Jade said...

Thanks for sharing - even though it kinda made me cry. Thank you for being such a good dad. Even if you had to write this down it means a lot that you recognized these things because I don't think a lot of dad's do. Now that I'm raising my own daughter it all seems so important.

dan horwedel said...

Appreciate the feedback. Seems to me like you both do pretty well at the parenting thing. :)

Jim said...

Ha! I have you snowed! Tell me that again in 10 years, when we can see the last crop in their 20s.

From what I can tell you and Jane muddled through JUST fine!