The following letter was posted today by my daughter, Courtney, on her blog. It, obviously, meant the world to me and I think may bring encouragement to many of you (parent & child alike).
You can comment here OR on: Courtney’s Blog
Dear Mom & Dad,
I observe and hear and read about all sorts of approaches to parenting and I agree that there isn’t just ONE way to parent. However, I am so incredibly thankful for all of the things that YOU did/do/have done while raising my siblings and me. You guys are incredible and i will never deny the amount of “me” that is wholly thanks to what you guys did. So i wanted to specify and elaborate briefly on just SOME of the things that i am most thankful that you did while raising me over these amazing 17 years.
* Thank you for spanking me. THANK YOU for smacking my little child booty firmly enough so that i cried for a minute and i learned not to do whatever i did again. It taught me healthy fear, respect, and the consequences that follow your actions. And for always saying “I love you, but i can’t let you act this way.” before doing it and for hugging me afterwards. Your firmness was unwavering but not nearly as unwavering as the love that the correction grew from.
* Thank you for encouraging me. Whatever i decided i was interested in, wanted to try doing, or was struggling through, you encouraged me all the way. You still do. There’s never been a day in my life where i didn’t know 100% that my parents were supportive or proud of me. And it has never been aimless encouragements nor controlling encouragement, but instead, you have both always cheered me on towards purposeful, meaningful things.
* Thank you for telling me no. No to not sharing, no to throwing fits, no to being disrespectful, no to drama, no to boys, no to Sponge Bob, no to the short skirt, no to going places because i’d been bad the day before, no to a phone when i was 12. I am thankful for your no’s. As frustrating as they have been at times, your no’s were really important. And thank you for saying them with smiles sometimes and deep tones and frowns other times.
* Thank you for saying yes. Yes to random ice cream cones from McDonalds, yes to playing with the neighbors, yes to the light up shoes, yes to “just 5 more minutes, mommy”, yes to picking out my own clothes, yes to mac & cheese, yes to my crazy birthday themes. Between your no’s and yes’s i learned my limitations and my freedom.
* Thank you for saying “Because i said so.” Kids are kids. They don’t need to know why you do what you do all the time. You explained what you thought would be valuable to my little mind and heart at the right time and for everything else, “because i said so.” Cause you were mommy and daddy and you knew what’s best for little Courtney. I figured out the why’s later anyway.
* Thank you for including me in “the grown up world”. I know a lot of this was because you didn’t always have the option to not include me, but it means a lot nonetheless. Mom, you always let us help in the kitchen or stick around while you chatted with guests or sit on your lap while you prayed for someone. Dad, you always let us hang out while you ministered to people, you let us sit in your prayer room, you talked about a lot of “grown up” everyday stuff at the table. (Side note: a lot of this wouldn’t have been possible if you let us be wild or disrespectful.) But seriously listening to you talk about life, your opinions, your excitement, your discouragement, your Jesus, has taught me more than so many things have. So thanks for not hiring a sitter for every dinner or waiting til we were in bed to talk to each other every night.
* Thank you for making me do it. Making me eat all of my food, learn how to ride a bike(yikes), learn how to swim (double yikes), practice piano, say hello to the people i didn’t like (HA!). I learned open-mindedness, fearlessness, manners, and again- to respect you.
* Thank you for being an example of the roles in a functional, godly, happy family.
Dad’s in charge and is the MAN of the house, Mom is also in charge but is not the head of the home, you’re always on the same page even when you’re not and you also love each other a TON. The kids all answer to you two and you both answer to God.
* Thank you for not making everything fair. THANK YOU for not always giving into our “but that’s not FAIR!” whining. Life is not fair, love is not fair, God’s grace is not fair and i grasped that early on.
* Thank you for not letting us be whiny cry babies. I know i sort of addressed this in other things, but for REALZ. There was none of that. And you’ve stuck with it through my teenage years and i know for a FACT that the expression of emotions can be controlled reasonably at any understandable age. Oh and i’m also gonna shove in “thanks for not letting us be clingy” with this one too.
* Thank you for making me feel beautiful and valued. Thank you for the hugs, the kisses, the compliments on my hair, the pretty dresses for easter, and the principal of modesty. I’ve never had any serious problems with self-image and i also credit that to the weight you’ve put on inner beauty.
* Thank you for the amazing way that you raised me in Jesus’ love. You’ve always spoken scripture, prayer, truth, purpose, hope, and love into my life. You’ve also placed great value on knowing the Bible and Jesus ourselves, whether that be at bedtime, in church, in school or on our own. And more than anything you’ve been examples of what being a follower of Christ looks like every day of my life.
I’d say I’m turning out pretty ok. Other people have said that at least.
I love you both and i know you love me. Even when you spanked and said no and gave me that look. I’ve always known you love me. I hope i am able to balance love and discipline as well as you do.
Your Child (Courtney)