A few years ago I wrote a small book called "Gifts From My Mother" about all the things I had learned from her. Recently I realized there were gifts given to me from my children, things they had taught me. Here are some of the things I learned from my kids:
Ben is my oldest and firstborn. As he grew, I felt like he was more like my brother than a son. He was wise even when he was very young. When he was about 5 years old I would run around a nearby track at the local University late at night, after dark with a friend.
Ben begged to go until I finally took him with me one night. Though I was focused on my task at hand (running a certain distance), to a 5 year old it must have been pretty scary, running into the blackness so late at night. Finally he said, "If you'll just hold my hand, I will keep up." What I learned: I should embroider this wise statement and hang it on the wall so I don't forget that even when a child is scared and feeling insecure, they just want you to hold their hand so they can keep up.
Before he could read or write, I decided to have him dictate something for his journal every night. When we began I asked him how he wanted to start his entries - Dear Diary or something else. He thought for a minute then said, "I think I will begin by saying, 'Dear Children'." What I learned: Even at that young age he had a sense of the eternal nature of life and that someday there might be posterity that will look to him for guidance.
My first daughter, Josie, has taught me much about "trying hard". While in college she went to the hospital with spinal meningitis. I talked to all her professors to find out what she needed to do to complete the two weeks of the Spring semester before returning in the fall. One professor, a professor in Medical terminology, told me not to expect her to return in the fall. She not only returned in the fall, she completed her Associates degree and continued her schooling to become a registered nurse.
Josie's first baby was born at 38 weeks, very premature. You could hold her in one hand. Josie has done many things to make life as good as possible for her daughter. Today she is thriving successful third grader.
My second daughter has taught me about having a zest for life. As a child, she would show enthusiasm about the most ordinary things such as, "I just lo-o-o-ve red jello!"
My third daughter taught me about perserverance. Just before her Freshman year in High School, she had an accident and ran a pitchfork through her knee. Some kids at school talked her into going out for the cross-country track team. She told me that when she ran her first race they had cleared away the finish line by the time she finished.
She stayed with the track team all 4 years in high school and even took third place in High Hurdles for the State in Spring track.