parenting

When he was four years old, he walked in with me to a Gross Anatomy lecture, his smile a mile wide and his tousled hair with his signature cowlick making him the cutest thing since sliced bread.  He wasn’t feeling well (or just wanted to spend the day with mom?) and since the lectures were only supposed to last an hour or two, I toted him in with a stack of BatMan paraphernalia, knowing that he’d sit quiet and play until class was over.  Typical first born he was—obedient, eager to please, driven to succeed.

Now 24 with a tamed colic but the same wide smile, he’s sitting in Gross Anatomy without me, himself a first year medical student, as eager and driven as ever, same magnanimous personality as when he won over the hearts of my classmates 20 years ago.

I’ve wrestled with guilt, so much angst, about how things might have been different if I hadn’t had such a stressful life when he was younger.  I’ve ached for a 2nd chance, for a way to be more present, more available.  I’ve regretted some things and prayed for the years to be redeemed.

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But as I sat in the arena this past Saturday and watched him receive his white coat, as a symbol of his pledge to serve others well, I couldn’t help but be humbled by the fact that so much of this is out of our control.  Whether we work or don’t, whether we homeschool or not, we walk in humility, knowing that we are dependent on God to use mostly our failures to teach us something of what it means to be a parent.  We fumble around in the dark, begging for wisdom, praying that they know how much they’re loved, being willing to admit we’re wrong because we so often are.  Parenting requires more faith than knowledge, more grace than rules, more trust than answers.  I’m so proud of the man he is becoming, mostly in spite of all the things I got wrong.

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To see him walk down the same road I did, knowing what he knows about its struggles and hardships was a moment of deep blessing.  Not that he’s going to be a doctor, but that he didn’t let bitterness creep in to his heart, that he has remained teachable and forgiving.  I hope if anything, I’ve taught him to be willing to keep learning, even if the task you’re doing is something you’ve been at for 24 years.

Approach life with awe and remember what a privilege it is to be here doing this, whether that’s studying in medical school or making dinner for the 4th time this week or nursing a baby in the middle of the night.  Be willing to hold your dogmas loosely and your people closely,  always watching for miracles.  They usually happen in places of your greatest weakness, when you’re teachable and humble enough to believe in them, when you know how desperately you could use a touch of divine intervention.

In other words, don’t focus so much on your own parenting as on serving those in your care the best you can, while they’re with you—knowing that you were never in charge of the outcome.  They won’t be long under your roof very long and they always seem to remember your magic.

Enjoy them and learn from them! They’re the best teachers.

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p.s. My September newsletter is going out tonight (or early tomorrow depending on my night), so join the fun if you haven’t!  This issue will be devoted to hair, makeup and fashion given my recent decision to chop off all my hair!  Click here to be part of it all!

36 comments on “On Humility, Parenting, and Being Teachable”

  1. Beautifully said Edie! I am a family physician working part time with 4 kiddos (baby 5 due in March). Your words of wisdom and faith are beautiful, falling on ears that need to hear. Thank you and God bless! N
    PS. I can’t wait for your book to come out 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing, Edie. I often feel bad thinking of how my two youngest did not get the attention I should have given them during their teen years. I was too wrapped up in trying to survive all that life had thrown my way. I have to leave the outcome in God’s hands – where it really was all along.

  3. Thank you THANK YOU for these words. God spoke directly to me through this post. I’ve been losing sleep, making myself sick, over some parenting decisions I’ve made and just some regret I have with my life. It’s paralyzing me. I’m taking these words as permission to stand up among the ashes and keep moving forward. xo

  4. God is so good in His timing. Your post was a balm to my soul today. I have two children in their early twenties (22 and 23) and a 9 year old. Lately, I have been evaluating some things that I didn’t do so well with the first two that I want to do better with their brother. Don’t get me wrong, they are incredible people but I wan an uptight perfectionist who was pretty hard on them. I didn’t show them Jesus very well at times and worse yet, I put the responsibility of that on the church instead of insisting that the church supplement what I taught at home. ( I have since learned that many perfectionistic types, a-hem, often procrastinate for fear of failure. My hand is raised high on that one…) I want all of my children to to know so much and show how smart they are but I would trade all of that in for them simply knowing they are loved like crazy and I am blown away by the privilege of being their mama.
    So, just yesterday I was speaking to my husband about my dreams to be a better parent and to be more involved in what he learns and have conversation and to just love him well. Your sweet words were a gentle reminder to simply love well. Bess you, Edie. There’s a lot of magic in you too.

  5. Bit sloppy tears running down this mama’s face right now!! Thank you for inspiring gorgeous memories! Thank you for such grace in words! You are a beautiful heart!! Loved this post!
    You are right, he has a great smile, and really it matches yours!!

  6. Man alive, Edie, did you pull at my heart strings and just write down the words that I have cried out to my Heavenly Father so many times!!! I WANT A DO OVER!!! But I am learning to allow my Father to forgive me for my shortcomings and to just walk each day in his steps. I know I will never get it just right but I am praying that through all of my try-hard efforts and most importantly His faithfulness my children will be rewarded through Him! Once again, THANK YOU!

  7. So very proud of your son!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope one day I can share about my son doing the same, as well!
    Blessings to you and your sweet family,
    Cindy

  8. Edie, Thank you for your words of wisdom today. They are whispers of solace and hope toward overcoming the guilty feelings of an overworked mother. I love your blog, and I look forward to each and every post. Your words resonate feelings that are difficult to express for most. I am excited for your book to come out. Congrats to your son, and also to his shining example, you.

  9. Edie, What a wonderful post…so full of hope! So happy for you and your son that he has found his calling and is on the path to fulfilling it. My sons are still not there yet and I struggle with huge feelings of failure at times. What gave me hope was this: “Be willing to hold your dogmas loosely and your people closely, always watching for miracles. They usually happen in places of your greatest weakness, when you’re teachable and humble enough to believe in them, when you know how desperately you could use a touch of divine intervention.” I needed that! So thank you!

  10. Thanks Edie, Loved this post! As adults we have the responsibility of attempting to balance our world, and as parents we have the extra responsibility of making it work for our family. Thank heavens we have a God that is loving and faithful who carries us through the journey. I sometimes think we are much harder on our parenting skills than what they should be. God blessed you with the ability to juggle life and give your children love and support. The proof is in the pudding. I understand your wonderful joy, as my son just began med school at the University of Kansas. What a great feeling it was (with many tears) as I watched my son walk on stage and place that white coat on his back. God is great! Congratulations Edie, job well done!

  11. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. I have Emily (jonesdesigncompany.com) Jones’ “Serve one another in Love” visible in multiple places in my house to remind me of this.

  12. Thanks for the beautiful blog and wise words. I’m a psychiatrist with two kids under two, and am constantly wrestling with balance, exhaustion and wishing I had more hours in a day. I really appreciated the part about approaching life with awe and being grateful, as well as a servant to others.

  13. My husband and I just moved to SoCal so he could start medical school too. That white coat ceremony was a great reminder as to why we’re about to start this long journey. Even though I’m not a parent sending my son off, my a wife sending my husband off and it’s still a wonderful experience. God sure has blessed us!

  14. Ugh. I needed this so much, like right now, today. It’s SO hard right now in motherhood. I have a teenager with asperger’s which means hormones and mood swings PLUS asperger’s that was already a challenge and I just want to QUIT. I have been fighting this feeling all week long and I have failed a million times in a million new ways. I keep thinking my child is never going to turn out alright with a mother like me!! Okay I have to stop now and not cry. But just know that this encouraged me right where I was. Thanks for sharing it.
    Sasha

  15. “Parenting requires more faith than knowledge, more grace than rules, more trust than answers.” Your posts always encourage! I’m thankful that God gives us faith, grace and trust to extend in this way! SANCTIFICATION is God’s work to do, not mine! I needed this reminder before I wake up the troops. Think we may do school in PJ’s this morning!
    XO
    Amy

  16. Edie-
    You are always on target for me (and a lot of others as well it appears :-))
    Thank you so much. I LOVE the picture of the two of you 🙂
    Congratulations Taylor! And I LOVE your bow tie 🙂

  17. My oldest will be 20 in a couple days and so many times I have wanted a “Do Over” with him. Your post has changed my perspective. Many thanks!

  18. love these words. every one of them true.

    “They usually happen in places of your greatest weakness, when you’re teachable and humble enough to believe in them, when you know how desperately you could use a touch of divine intervention.”

    I know this is true in my case…he uses my weaknesses daily.

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