When I read “pass on the baton”, the theme of my devotional this morning, it made me realized I AM passing on the baton!
Being a “Humanitarian Entrepreneur” as my friend, Gilda, would say, doesn’t leave much time for anything! We’re always managing a business or helping someone so I had to be creative to stay connected to my sisters. I invited them (Okay, I challenged them!) to read the bible with me in one year. Some of us are more active writing our own thoughts every day than others, but we’re still connected, which was the ultimate goal!
In today’s devo the suggestion was to find a “Paul” and a “Timothy”. A Paul to learn from and a Timothy to pass on the baton. It’s much more profound than this basic statement but you’ll get the point.
This week we celebrated my daughter’s birthday and we spent it at home. The best memory of it was to watch her take her daughter, Elena, who just turned one, into the swimming pool. The very same swimming pool I took Sasha into (also for the first time) when she was Elena’s age.
I remember being so scared that something would happen to my daughter and that I wouldn’t be able to save her. I didn’t know how to swim and I didn’t want my insecurities to stop my daughter from continuing to enjoy the visits to Nana and Abuelo and get into the swimming pool every opportunity she had. As scared as I was of swimming, I decided to take some lessons in case “I needed to save her in an emergency”. I learned to float -that’s about it…I was still scare! However, it gave me the confidence I needed in case of an emergency.
As I was reading my devotional I realized I’m always learning and I’m always teaching. I did what I saw my mom doing for me so many times. I took courage and did something afraid. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done something afraid in an effort to help, to improve, to find a solution. Even now, I stretch myself thin in an effort to help even though I’m afraid to fail and guess what? I do! I fail but I’ll continue to learn and I’ll continue to teach. We all do…we’re all passing on the baton. Do it afraid!
I remember how my mom used to give me a “look” signaling to go to my room if she didn’t want me to be part of a conversation. I don’t remember her having to repeat herself twice when she asked me to do chores or help up with something. There was only one thing I wished my mom would not had asked me to do when I was a teenager, -why did I drag doing this one thing for her? I was only doing what every shy and insecure 13 year-old would do! I’d give anything not to walk by myself in the neighborhood to the corner store to get the groceries for the day. Why? So I could avoid encountering the boys in the neighborhood wanting to walk along, ask me out and pay compliments! I remember several of them asking my mom if I could go out with them. I was so shy and not interested in dating, at all! In fact, I thought I’d never get married. Well, I did! I fell hopelessly in love with my husband and we’ve been together over 32 years! I was only 21 years old when I started my own family. I wasn’t experienced or matured enough but I learned from my mom to use “loving discipline” and both my daughter and son turned out great! Notice I didn’t say perfect!
Perfect children don’t exist, much less perfect parents! I’ve learned not to anticipate perfection from anyone because I’m far from being perfect myself. Perfection seems unreachable but we can still aim for it. In fact, I recently heard this phrase and I loved it “Aim for perfection, settle for excellence”
I work closely with youth groups and children from different organizations and it breaks my heart to see the lack of motivation, drive and lost opportunities that kids are not taking advantage of. The statistics have rocketed recently on mental conditions in youth struggling from anxiety, depression, bulling and even high performing kids with straight A’s suffer from stress! We know there is no perfect formula to raise a child and the best way to raise your children is YOUR way! I’ll share these points to with you that I use while raising my children and teach my mentees now and I hope you find them helpful:
- Loving Discipline / Stick to the consequences if they don’t obey
- Give some freedom / Balance (with limits) is always important
- Words of Affirmation / Learn their “love language” there are 5
- Bonding time / Trips alone with them or “Meetings between friends”
- Expose them to successful people / find a mentor for them
- Encourage family debates / Allows them to practice freedom of speech, making choices and build their self confidence
- Be grateful to God for your kids/ This may the the most important because there will be moments you won’t be able to do anything other than pray for them with a grateful heart. Where there’s gratitude, there’s no room for resentments, hatred or arguments