Question: What Would You Have Done Differently?

question_mark_778895.gif.jpgI have two questions.  One is for you if you are a mother.  The other is for the rest of us.

First question: As a mother, what is one thing you wish you had done differently with your children?

Yes, Sunday is Mother’s Day.  It is a day for sending cards, giving flowers, and saying nice words about mothers.  I want to think about this on another level though.  If you are a mother, I am wondering what you have learned about being a mother that you would like to do differently if you could do it over?

Perhaps your children are grown and have moved out of your house.  Or, perhaps your children are in college or in high school.  After thinking about the years that you spent rearing your children, what would you have done differently?

Second question: What did your mother do right?

Can you pinpoint something that your mother did well?  Is there something she did that today is especially meaningful to you?

Yes, I know that some people had very unpleasant experiences with their mother, dad, or even both.  That is a tragedy and a loss.  Yet, I think it is important to learn from those who are mothers and can now reflect upon the experience.  It is valuable to learn from one another as we remember our own mothers.

I learned from my mother the importance of service and helping others.  She did this with her children, again and again.  I realized later on that she had often put her own welfare and her own desires behind the needs of her children.  She saw to it that her children had clothes, school supplies, and money for lunch.  All of this seemed to be placed before her getting the things she wanted and no doubt needed. 

What about you?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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14 thoughts on “Question: What Would You Have Done Differently?

  1. wish I had KNOWN about GRACE and Unconditional love…..wish I had heard ‘you can’t give away what you don’t have’  sooner…

  2. As a mother of five, I wish I would’ve enjoyed the two year old stage more.  With four teens in the house (and an 8 year old), I’ve learned that those years weren’t nearly as difficult or stressful as these can sometimes be 😉

  3. Wow – great questions!  What I learned from my mom – was reaching out to others to serve, inviting people in, and that you don’t need a t.v., video games, or other devices to make a stay at "Grandma’s" fun.  My mom developed an individual relationship with each of my children – taking them individually on summer trips or having them for pajama parties, etc.  It was awesome.  She also taught me the importance of family gatherings – which as a child and then young adult I thought were terribly inconvenient (always fun…but incovenient!) and now as a father of 4 I see how our family gatherings and traditions are solid rocks that we have built that have helped create our "family story".  Thanks for the question and the opportunity to reflect a little!

  4. Despite my many flaws and weaknesses, with God’s amazing grace, our 2 daughters and 1 son turned out to be godly people who truly bless me.  I was quite strict, often impatient and sometimes yelled. Recently in conversation my adult kids told me that one very important thing that I did was to apologize after I recognized that I had been too strict, too harsh or unkind.  Because I would regret my actions and did apologize, they learned that I was only human too. It meant so much to hear them say that. There’s been forgiveness all around! Thank God! My mom modeled a servant heart for me – always volunteering to occupy her time until she moved into the nursing home 4 years ago, but…… oh yes, you asked what did she do right.  So, no buts!  LOL!!!!

  5. Regrets, I’ve had a few…actually thousands!  With my own children I wish that I had treasured each moment more instead of "rushing" through them, they pass so quickly.  I wish that I had been more patient, and not let every little thing upset me.  I wish I hadn’t started yelling, it’s a vicious cycle that is terribly hard to break.  I wish that I had learned sooner not to sweat the small stuff.  I think I did eventually learn that with my younger children, but the older ones I was more uptight about things that truly don’t matter.  I wish that I had more confidence in parenting ability and not let my insecurities affect my parenting.  Trying to be the Super Parent is an impossible ideal.  I have to have faith that God’s grace and goodness will outweigh my shortcomings and that in spite of all my faults, they will recognize a heart that loves God and tried to do the best I could.  I didn’t do everything wrong because I have children who are funny, sweet and tender hearted.  It’s much easier to focus on the faults than the things I’ve done well.
    My mother (and father too) did a wonderful job of always making me feel loved and valued.  They instilled a strong sense of right and wrong and I didn’t want to disappoint them.  I always knew that my home was stable and loving.  My mother taught Bible classes, worked in the bus ministry, worked at the church, was always involved; this has taught me to be involved as well.  She was a stay at home mother and I was committed to being a stay at home mother as well; that’s a legacy worth keeping!

  6. Appreciate these questions, Jim!  I also appreciate your work with the Lord’s Body there in Waco.One thing I did right was teach my children Scripture.  When they were little, I helped them memorize it. Then when they became teenagers, I carried through with my commitment that they would not leave home without having read the Bible all the way through.  Our daughter was an overachiever and did it on her own, reading through it four times before graduating from high school.  Our son was a perfectly normal boy and needed some help, so I bought a copy of LaGard Smith’s Narrated Bible.  Mornings before school, I would read the day’s selection’s introduction, and then Ryan would read the passage.   I had the satisfaction of hearing every word of God come out of my son’s mouth, and it provided many opportunities to discuss what we read.  Both children are now adults who are active in church, and are Biblically literate and love God’s Word. What I would have done differently — I would have started before they were in high school.  Latayne C Scott  

  7. I was only 15 when I had my first daughter, 18 with my second and 23 when my third child was born. I made so many mistakes. Up until my last child was born I was pretty much a baby trying to raise babies. Needless to say I would have done thousands of things differently, but I was a different person then than I am today. I would have been more patient, loved more, yelled less. The main thing I would do differently would be to teach them about God and how to have a relationship with him. Sadly until my third daughter was born I didn’t even go to church myself. I have wonderful daughters who love me in spite of my many mistakes.
    My mom was the queen of clean! I learned how to clean and take care of what I have. My mom had many obstacles in her way while trying to raise three kids. We never developed a close relationship. Just in the past year, now that she is 86 and I’m 60 we finally have what we never had and I am treasuring each moment.

  8. Becky,Thanks very much.  I appreciate what you said regarding grace and unconditional love.  How important!  

  9. Paula,Thanks.  Your comment reminded me of something that occured to me a few years ago.  When we have our first child, everything is a "first."  It is so hard for us to have perspective regarding what is difficult or challenging because we have nothing to really compare it to (at least out of our experience.)  Then it seems like when the next child is born, we more likely have a better perspective on what we are facing. Anyway—thanks so much.

  10. Karin, What a wonderful gift from your children!  Their words must have been very affirming.  You must be very proud of them.

  11. Janice, How wonderful to be able to say, "I was a different person than I am today."  It sounds like God has really been at work in your life over the years.  Regardless of whatever bumps in the road you met early on, it sounds as if you are going to finish strong.  You are to be commended for this.I am happy for you in what you experienced with your mother in her latter years.  What a gift!

  12. Laura, Thank you for such honesty.  I appreciate your very candid reflection on your experience as a parent.  Your comment will help some other people who will read this. Like you, I thank God for his grace in all of this.  I thank God that he is merciful when he sees that we have messed up and just haven’t handled some of this "parenting stuff" very well.  Many of us join you in recognizing those moments and day when we wished we done things differently. I appreciate you very much.   

  13. Dave, What a blessing you experienced!  It sounds like you had a great mom.   It sounds like you have been given some experiences that you will pass on to your own children. Thanks!

  14. I’m not a mother so I’ll skip Question #1. As for the other, my mother never stopped growing spiritually and became a spiritual giant in my life toward the end of her life. To come from her background of legalistic sectarianism and self-righteous arrogance to the most grace-centered person I’ve known was a wonderful journey for all of us. She’s been dead about 4 years and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and wish I could share stories of our grandchildren with her. She would love them. They would love her.