- Family and Parenting
Watching Our Children Grow Into Young Adults Has Its Rewards
Parents and Farmers Have a Lot in Common!
Parenting children is similar to the farmer's job as he plants, fertilizes, waters and weeds his fields. Both parents and farmers sow seeds of care using the knowledge they have gained to improve the condition of the ones they care for. A good parent will impart love, nurturing, wisdom and set boundaries for their children. A good farmer will sow his/her seeds in the right amount of soil, provide proper fertilization and water, dispose of the weeds that might otherwise choke their plants, and sometimes even build fences to protect their crops from outside dangers such as deer who may eat the produce.
The process of parenting in the developing years is long and tedious. Many are the nights that parents are up with teething babies and sick children, comforting them and providing the love and support they need to get through the pain and discomfort. Long are the hours that parents spend with their children, helping with homework, and listening to stories of broken hearts. And many are the prayers parents pray for protection for their children from the evils of the world and the bad influences they may encounter. Although a farmer tends his crops for a season, parents have to wait a longer time to see the results of their harvest. For some, a bountiful harvest may never come. For others, the harvest comes in better for some of their children and a weak crop for others.
Case Study: My Daughter Michaela
I personally found the wait a long time coming. I have three children and will use my daughter Michaela as a case example. Michaela was a challenge even before she was born. I could tell she would be a handful because she was constantly active while I was carrying her. When she was born, she only wanted me. Her Dad would sometimes get frustrated because if I wasn't at home, Michaela would scream and cry until I arrived. It got to the point where I couldn't even go to the grocery store alone if she was sleeping because if she woke up and I wasn't home, she would disrupt the whole house with her cries. As she got older, she gained her independence from "mommy" and was curious, bright and very talkative. She talked and asked questions constantly. By the time she was to enter kindergarten and go to school like her big brother, she was more than ready. She excelled in school and made many friends right from the start. Our town had decided to start full-day kindergarten the same year she started kindergarten. She had a September birthday though, and it made her younger than most of her classmates. While there was a built-in rest time in her day, and she could have used it, she chose not to because her friends weren't resting. By the time she got home from school she was exhausted, so on Fridays, I would arrive at her school after lunch to pick her up early. Not much was happening in her classroom those last two hours of the school day, and I wanted to get her home so she could rest and relax a bit and have at least one school day where she could nap. She would usually pitch a fit in the school hallway because she wanted to do what her friends were doing, and not get left out. As her mom, I gave her as much love as I could, while still setting the boundaries I thought were best for her, and trying to have as much patience as possible.
Maturing Children Poll
Are You Enjoying or Have You Enjoyed Watching Your Children Grow into Productive Young Adults?
Middle School Years
Her spirit and determination served her well in later years. In middle school, she started to run cross country at the urging of one of her friends who also joined the team. She took to it like a duck takes to water. By eighth grade, she was a team captain, and her coaches had high hopes for her high school running career. I had been present at all of her cross country meets, cheering her on from the sidelines, offering her encouragements.
She also asked me to help her study for a lot of tests. I can't tell you how many nights we sat together on the living room floor or laid on her bed while I grilled her with test questions over and over till she was sure she understood the material.
High School Years
As she entered high school, she was determined to do her absolute best to open up as many doors as possible for her future. When extra credit work was assigned, she would always do it even though her grades were already A's. She was always a student who participated in the classroom and enjoyed interacting with the teachers and other students. She was a perfectionist regarding schoolwork and rarely got a grade less than an A. Again I spent many nights on her bed grilling her for tests and exams. She would ask me to help her edit papers she had written before sending them to her teachers. At the end of her senior year of high school, I proudly sat in the audience of parents of only six seniors in her graduation class of 570 students who had chosen to write and defend a very detailed and extensive research paper to a panel of teachers and peers. Most of the other students in the class had chosen a much easier project.
But during her high school years, she began complaining of aches in her joints. After a few trips to her pediatrician, she was referred to the Children's Hospital, an hour away from our home. At her visit to the hospital, we were quite dismayed to discover she has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. As the doctor inserted a needle into each knee to take out the fluid that had gathered there and made it painful to walk, I held her hand and leaned over her as she lay there, both of us fighting back tears. I watched her suffer for the next few years as arthritis ate away at her joints, including her jaw, which at the time prevented her from opening her mouth more than 1/2 inch. But she was a fighter and through all of her pain, continued to maintain exemplary grades and also to run cross country. I cheered her on and did what I could to help her through these painful years.
Apparently, she had needed that determination that had always been so much of her personality, to get through the challenges that lay before her.
Now that her doctor has her on a medication that has helped alleviate most of the pain, she is doing much better. Her grades in high school earned her a very large scholarship, and she graduated with a 4.1 GPA in June 2012. Michaela just finished her freshman year at Drexel University with a 3.9 GPA. As long as she keeps her GPA at 3.0 or higher, she will maintain that scholarship.
She has decided to follow her passion, which is television and is majoring in Television Production and Media Management. She has joined a club at Drexel called, "The Pretentious Film Majors Club" which reviews upcoming movies and current television shows on a weekly radio show. She takes part in YOUTUBE reviews, even sometimes chairing the group. These videos are broadcast on Youtube for all the world to see. She has joined a project in Philadelphia called, "Books Behind Bars" which packages and sends books to prisoners, a project which has proven to reduce their rate or re-incarceration. She is doing some amazing things as a young adult, and as I watch her, I am in awe of this person she is becoming.
Over the years, Michaela has become an independent, bright, witty and lovely young lady. She has accomplished much on her own, but like the farmer, I will just state that as her parent, I have done my share of planting, watering, weeding and adding fertilizer to her life to help her best grow and flourish into the wonderful young lady she is becoming. And I am enjoying the fruits of that labor as I watch her grow and mature and follow her passion.
Michaela as part of The Pretentious Film Majors Club. Drexel University
My Wish For Parents
I wish the same for all parents. Although our children do not always make the choices we would want them to make, all the care we take as parents to teach, guide and nourish our children enable them to blossom and grow into mature, productive adults. May you enjoy watching this process with your children as much as I am enjoying the process with my daughter. And may the guidance you have given them help them to make the choices that make you proud.
High School Photos
And Now on to College at Drexel University
Michaela and other PFM members discussing the renewal of Community for another season!
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© 2013 Karen Hellier