Subscribe to our newsletter

Save a Marriage Today

Connect with us

What I’ve Learned From My Kids

A collection of lessons from parents who have been through the battle.
By Mary May Larmoyeux


The older I get, the more I realize how much I've learned from my kids—or more specifically, by raising my children. This journey began for my husband, Jim, and me when our oldest son was born two months early. The doctors said he would not live through the night. They were wrong.

Does the Master Physician really hear our prayers? That once-struggling infant is now a father of three.

Through parenting I've also caught a glimpse of God's heart. I've realized that although He wants only the best for us, He won't make our hands grasp it. We have a free will ... and so do our kids. And when my children chose to disobey and suffered the consequences, I sensed some of our Lord's grief when He watches His children do the very same thing.

When my sons trusted Christ as the Lord of their lives, I was reminded anew that God is a redeemer. And as I watch these now-grown men love their families and raise their children to love Jesus Christ, I want to sit back and sigh and recall the words of Psalm 78:4-6 (NIV): “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. ... so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.”

What others learned through parenting

I asked some friends, “What have you learned from your children?” See if you can identify with some of the things they said about what they learned through years of raising children.

I have learned how important it is to a child to have peace in the home and between the parents. My youngest actually tried to get me to hold hands with my husband once when we were mad at each other. Even though we hadn't argued in front of him, he knew. Children are smart enough to read the signs and body language.

~ 

Life is a process… today’s failures = tomorrow’s growth.

~

Flexibility … Sometimes it is okay to have ice cream instead of dinner!

~ 

I’ve learned how much God aches when the body of Christ is not in harmony. When a child has unresolved conflict with a sibling, I long for their unity and harmony. God must feel that way about His children.

~

Never say, "I'll never _______.” And don’t judge another mom.

~

Parenting has taught me that many of the childhood dreams I thought I had given up are still inside me. Inasmuch as they might be good, I’m still trying to pass them on to my children; inasmuch as I might try to live out some of them through my children, I resist.

~

I’ve learned that silence cannot be misquoted. Endless haranguing over contentious issues is often fruitless. Sometimes the parent is right just because he is the parent.

~

Selflessness. It is all about laying down my life … every day … every minute. And it hurts.  

~

I have learned … that what I am teaching the children points back to me directly and that my character is between me and God. …  Yesterday’s lesson was on entitlement… why do teenagers think they are entitled, very frustrating. … I kept thinking in my frustration, “They should be thankful we provide a roof over their head, feed them, protect them, and are there for them. Why do they always think they are entitled to more?” … In my rant, God tapped me on the shoulder and said … “I am always here for you, I provide for you, I love you … and often you feel like you too are entitled to a problem-, stress-, trial-free life.”

~

Parenting has taught me what a sinner I am! I was saved at a very young age, never had a “prodigal” time in my teens, am not prone to having a hot temper, and in many ways viewed myself as having things pretty well together. Yes, God had saved me, but not from much.

Well, all it took was to see how angry I could get at an infant who wouldn’t stop crying, a toddler who created a mess, or a back-talking teen for me to realize how much God has saved me from, and how much of the flesh I still have in me! So what if I can hold it together when things go my way and I am living in a calm adult world? I’ve heard it said that character is defined by how you act when you think no one is looking. I might say that my character is defined more by how I act when only my kids are looking. It is much more of a challenge to live out my faith, and be a reflection of Jesus inside my own home. My kids have taught me how much I need to rely on God, and not my own “goodness.”

~

I’ve learned that I can’t “save” my child, only God can do that. Allowing someone free will and accepting them (love) no matter what, is very hard to do.

~

It is only by God’s grace and mercy that any of us follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. I’ve learned that I need to pray, pray, pray!

~

Not to be self-centered—that came with the first baby!  I learned from my babies that I could happily give up my sleep and days. … I could have resented the intrusion into my life, but when I learned to care for them and see them as God’s purpose for my days, then whatever came to my days I could receive with joy and serve them gladly.

~

It has taught me to get excited about life. I tend to get worn down by all the hurting people and bad stuff happening around me. I’ve learned to just enjoy God.  … Cast your cares on Him and enjoy His comfort. 

~ 

To be quick to forgive. 

~

I’ve learned to trust God in all circumstances. He is the One Who has given us our children to teach us more about our relationship we are to have with Him as our Father. … Love, discipline, patience, joy, faithfulness, gentleness, grace, and mercy all come to mind as lessons God has taught me through the avenue of the relationship I have with my children. 

Life lessons

I’ve discovered so much from my kids about trusting God—about myself, and even about my parents.

As a small child, I had complete confidence in my own mom and dad. Then I became a questioning teenager who, at times, doubted her parents’ wisdom. But then something happened—I had children of my own and started to see my parents through a different lens. They are people in process … just like my kids … just like me.

My friend Keith, who has two college-aged sons, put it this way: “At first my father was always right. Later, he was always wrong. Finally, he was just my dad.” 

Copyright © 2011 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

FamilyLife is a donor-supported ministry offering practical and biblical resources and events to help you build a godly marriage and family. 



Meet the Author: Mary May Larmoyeux

Mary May Larmoyeux is a writer and editor for FamilyLife. She is the author or coauthor of several books including The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart. She and her husband, Jim, have two married children and a growing number of grandchildren.

 

 

Save a Marriage Today

Subscribe to our newsletter