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The School of Parenting Teaches What Matters Most

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The words of Robert Fulghum's poem, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” hung on my kitchen wall like a whisper of God's grace amidst our daily living when my three kids were tiny tots. He reminds us with profound wonder how most of what we need to know about life we learn in kindergarten: share everything, play fair, clean up your own mess, to name a few.

If you've been a parent for any length of time, say, a few minutes, I'm guessing you've come to learn the school of parenting includes an even deeper sandbox of lessons from which to scoop meaning and purpose.

Kids are ego smashers, and the “in the sand experience of raising them” offers many opportunities to knock down our castles of pride and self-preservation. After twenty-four years of feet in the gritty stuff adventure, my soul walks much lighter having had fortresses of vainglory crumble.

The journey of raising kids does a number on our Mom heart via unexpected twists and turns, tugs and pulls of emotions. And if we allow ourselves to learn from the flux, the experience can and should transform our heart in any number of ways.

For me, doing the mom thing for decades means a head full of retrospect and a heart which continues to transform in a million ways. Consider my rendition of the Fulghum poem in relation to parenting:

All the Insight Needed to Transform My Heart I Learned in Parenting

Cherish everything.

Fight fair.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

Put everything in perspective.

Worry about your own mess.

Don’t expect others to see things the way you do.

Say I love you. Always.

Count to ten before anything.


Trials and struggles enlighten you.

Live a grateful life.

Trust more, think less.

And love and hug and listen and laugh.

Speak, but also be.

Make some time for you every day.

When you feel like you’re alone on an island, know a million other parents share the same shore.

Communicate, then succeed and fail together.

Become a child once again.

Our children see the world from a different vantage point. Finding the courage to stoop to their level can sprinkle pixie dust upon any beleaguered, disparaging, and calloused life views holding us hostage.

The evils of fallen nature have yet to tarnish our kid’s innocence, so the wonder, wide-eyed amazement, and unconditional love of everything in sight still tumbles through their spirit. Choosing to go along for the ride can awaken our tired adult selves and rebirth a knowing of what matters most.

What has parenting done to your heart?


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