My husband and I have the best goddaughter in the world. Yup, I'm braggin' on her because she is the most considerate, hardworking and humble young lady that I have met in a long time. Even when she found herself in error-she listened, humbled herself, learned and moved on. She is the mother of an adorable, incredibly smart two year old and when I see them together I think about when I was a single mom and how much further along she is than I was. I can't think about it too long before tears will well up in my eyes. I am so grateful that she learned early that making consistently stupid, out of the will of God mistakes doesn't delete the first mistake. It just amplifies it and sows seed and cycles of rebellion and discord in your life. I didn't quite catch on as fast as she did and I paid dearly. But now...she doesn't have to pay....as much.
I told the kids when they were younger that "I got this scar on my knee by running my big wheel into a tree. Now kids, you run YOUR big wheels in to the tree and see what happens." They were like..."NO....I will hurt myself"..I said "how do you know that?" My daughter said, "cause look at YOUR knee." They GOT it! You don't have to make the same mistakes to see if those errors will cause havoc. You can look at the damage and scars of my knee and know that running a Big Wheel into a tree is probably not a great idea. Look at the battle scars of someone else that has gone through what you are facing, ask and learn. Early on, our goddaughter (after some urging from my husband) did that...and she is now, with some great decisions and grace, living a supernaturally blessed life.
I get to share and teach her "mommy" stuff. You know, like how to balance life and single motherhood and how to take care of yourself. I also share simple mother wisdoms that teach her priority, character and sacrifice like-"never go out the house with your child looking dirty, raggedy and uncared for while you are dressed to the nines". Or how as a mom and an example now, your persona, attire and your conversation has to mature. I didn't know she even really valued those things I told her until once when she was bringing the baby over, she called me ahead of time while driving in the car to tell me why she didn't have time to comb the baby's hair..(she was excused... :-). Mind you, she has a great mom and sisters. I am usually just another confirming voice.
My husband gets to share with her practical things like making the right job choices and how to invest and manage your 401k. She was having issues with adjusting to being a manager and getting the respect she needed to perform properly and he helped her wade through it. They talk about what she will major in her master's program and how she can use it later. She is getting ready to buy her first home and he has been sharing with her about what to look for and where. He shares parenting things with her from a dads perspective and he also brings down the hammer of correction when he sees her being too leinient with the baby, getting run down and tired or not spending time for herself.
The key to all of this is...she respects what we know..she shares, she asks and she listens. We got a card from her yesterday that was so heartfelt. It was just a gift from God in timing. An awesome woman had just shared with me that she felt led to tell me that we would have more children (maybe not natural) to lead and teach. I believe, Our goddaughter is one of those people.
As parents, (bio, step, grand, godparents, or spiritual parents) our jobs include teaching, training, discipling and encouragement. When we look at their lives we want to be able to see glimpses that "they listened", "they heard", "they got it", "they are better", "they are wiser". There is a season (for some) that your kids think you know absolutely nothing, don't panic-its just folly-or as I say in modern english terms "short term mild brain damage"...it will pass. But as opportunities re-present themselves-give it to them again with both barrels. You will have to be transparent to a degree. You may have to open up a bit and show them the past hurts. Share, teach, show, disciple, and share some more...Show them your scars from the big wheels of life. It may help them to avoid that gigantic tree up ahead.