But every now and again I hear some advice that I think is invaluable. The last time this happened, the advice came from an 83 year-old woman who only went to school until she was 12 years old. That lady was my grandmother.
We had been visiting Nan for about thirty minutes. We talked about our memories – mainly our times together as a family. We talked about her belief that she won’t be with us much longer. Nan’s life is slowly drawing to a close.
Nan had been watching Kylie and I with our five kids. She saw that we adore them. And she saw that we worry about them, we stress about them, we get frustrated at our own inability to always be great parents for them.
As we prepared to leave, Nan looked at me and told me she had some advice to give me about the kids. I steeled myself. As the one who gives the advice, it can be hard to take it sometimes. And some of that ‘old-school’ advice can really grate. I was expecting Nan to tell me not to spoil them too much, or perhaps she might give me a reminder that ‘a good beltin’ never did any real harm.’ I’ve heard those lines more than once.
Instead, Nan simply said,
“Enjoy them. They’re so beautiful, and they grow up so fast. Just enjoy them.”In some ways, the advice is trite. Enjoy the journey. Time flies. All that stuff. Blah, blah, blah.
But as I have reflected on that advice I have realised just how hard it is to do – to really, truly enjoy them.
It’s almost impossible to really enjoy it. There’s too much going on. Work, dinner, cleaning, commitments, extra-curricular activities, and more.
Taking the time to savour the moments we have with them – to really enjoy our kids – is something that can only happen when we really, truly pay attention. It happens when we focus less on the doing and more on simply being.
It’s hard-won wisdom from someone who is preparing to say goodbye, and who has watched her own children, and now her grandchildren experience the amazing experience of raising a family… and what wonderful, meaningful, sage wisdom it is.
What's the best parenting advice you've ever heard? And do you find it easy, or hard, to implement it?