Monday, August 17, 2009


3rd grade has always seemed like a big year to me. Kindergarten - 2nd encompasses such a wide scope of learning....lots of general, basic ideas....reading, writing, arithmetic....then 3rd grade hits....and hopefully those acquired skills come together and can be applied to the big picture of education.

As Carter enters the 3rd grade and this new world opens to him, I can't help but reflect back on the 8 years we've been raising him and wonder how we're doing. This is the most important (stressful, emotional, difficult) job I've ever held and I'm really missing those mid-year reviews I used to dread in the business world. For someone to come in.....see our family and parenting ideas.....and point out, "You're really screwing this part up" would be painful, yes, but so helpful. Because, after all, isn't it always too late when we figure that out on our own?

A counselor once told Blake and me that the first 5 years of childhood will shape a kid's personality for life. The pressure!

We've learned a lot in this venture of raising kids and have plenty more to learn, no doubt. A few things I'm sure of so far:

*Laying a child down to sleep and leaving the room with cries still heard as I walk out the door is one of the hardest things I'll ever experience. It's also the best thing I could do for that child. So, I keep walking.

*Declining requests for insignificant "things" while grocery shopping is not fun, but I'm teaching our kids a wealth of lessons....appreciation, value, sacrifice....all in one simple word - "No".

*The simple memories from taking a child to the park, a museum, on a walk through the neighborhood far outlast the toy I previously told him he could not have.

*Praying before meals.....where we sit down as a family to eat together each a life long ritual I hope our kids take with them into their own adult lives, as I did to mine.

*Apologizing to a child for being wrong can be just as effective as being right.

*Cooking with kids almost always results in a messy kitchen.....but also, a math lesson, a chance to work together, and an opportunity to share.

*Those people who show up in our kids' lives are the ones who matter....through visits, phone calls, letters in the mail. Forget about trying to make them all perfect. Appreciate those who appreciate your children.

*Chores are a constant in life. Teaching them now makes them easier down the road.

*Siblings are the most significant (genetically and hopefully, emotionally) relationships a person can hold. Treasure them and keep them close.

*Sharing memories from our childhood years is fascinating to young minds. Keep talking....and be grateful they're still listening.

*A loving, respectful marriage could be the most lasting impression made on children. Be nice. Little eyes are watching.

Phew! That was an emotional ride. Kind of like parenting, huh?


Carrie Darney said...

Casey, I love this post! So true! I agree with many things on the list. I especially agree with the sitting down for dinner at night...even if it is just trown together or whatever. Just sitting at the table talking is priceless

Carrie Darney said...

And, for your "review" I don't think you spend enough time with your kids going places...are they going to know what is in the world besides your house? Poor babies must be so bored. Get out more often!

Ha! OBVIOUSLY all the things you do with your babies

Blake said...

Well said, Casey. I can’t believe that we have a 3rd grader. He is such a big boy with the kindest of hearts. I too wonder how we would be graded on our role as parents thus far. I know that we have made mistakes and will undoubtedly make more but I can’t help but think that we have done a great job. You have done a great job! Carter definitely lives life to the fullest. No matter how annoying and nerdy your daily outings appear to be in the beginning they always turn out to be fantastic and worth every bit of struggle and frustration. You have exposed him to so many wonderful things and given him a real love for living life and learning. Thank you!

Coco said...

So true. Marriage is #1 in our house, for us and for our kids.

I really need to work on eating as a family...

Monica said...

You are such an awesome mommy!

donatelli98 said...

Great post - it shows what a great parent you are to your children! Maybe not perfect but a great example to them in so many ways! Keep up the good work and thanks for being such a good role model for others like myself.

merrilee said...

Love, love, love this post! Totally agree with all of it. . .especially the marriage part. We are the best examples our children have of how a marriage "should be". Darin and I are constantly reminding one another of this. You are an awesome mom--this is obvious!!!

The Soladay Family said...

Love this post. Being a parent is hands down the toughest job in the world but definitely the most rewarding. I am with Coco on marriage as well. It's their turn at life, and it's up to us to set a good example of a happy, healthy stable marriage so that they can have the same in their future. It's obvious that you and Blake are doing this for your children. I love the eating together every night. We hardly ever eat out with the whole crew and not just because it's so darn expensive, but because you just can't get those family moments eating out all the time. It becomes too hectic! =)You're an inspiration to all!!

Jodee said...

I enjoyed reading this post! I also agree with lots of things on your list! We eat together as a family almost every single night. We turn the TV off and we don't answer the phone. Dinner time is sacred to us!

Tammy said...

love this post, Casey. And, I enjoyed reading Blake's comment to you. thanks for giving me so much to think about this evening, and no pressure, right???

Heather said...

I could not agree with you more on every single point you just covered. Those points are exactly how we are trying to raise our children.

The 1st five years shape their personality huh??? Wow - that's scary - with all of my kids 2 years apart - I was just purely surviving those years. I've probably damaged them for life!

Shannie said...

Love this post! I am so cutting and pasting some of those quotes. Good job! (And I just had to come by and visit the Starnes FaRm! Miss you. I'm trying to do better.)

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