23 Years of Lessons

Image courtesy of Jessie Lynn Photography. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Jessie Lynn Photography. All rights reserved.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

Last month my firstborn son turned 23. You would think that after doing something every day for 23 years you would be completely confident in your ability to do it. Well, after 23 years of being a mom I still wonder and question, doubt and pray like crazy for the Lord to fill in all the holes I leave. I remember like yesterday the moment the doctor handed me that brand new 2-foot-tall brown-eyed baby boy and I was overwhelmed by three things; first, the goodness and amazing work of the Creator; second; wow, this baby is as big as a toddler–how did that happen; and third, I have no idea how to be a mother so God please help me do it right. Even amidst the unknowns there are a few things I’m pretty sure of after diving heart and soul into this gig for more than two decades.

*Pray for your kids, pray with your kids and model a life of prayer. They may not always imitate your actions but there is no more significant image to leave your children with than the importance of prayer.

*Kids don’t need more stuff; they need more of our time.

*Kids need parents who love them enough to let them fall and bump their nose, and their ego and their independence. The most important lessons are often learned the hard way.

*Our children were created to fulfill God’s plan not ours.

*They grow up faster than you think, that’s only a problem for us; they kind of like it!

*Kids need helicopter parents about as much as submarines need screen doors.

*Quality time most definitely should include doing dishes, cleaning, cutting wood, baling hay, working cattle and scrubbing stuff for two really good reasons. First, we can’t complain about a lazy generation if we haven’t stood shoulder to shoulder to teach kids how to work and second, life isn’t always fun and that is completely ok.

*Kids need our loving support as we watch them succeed and watch them fail, endure disappointment and deal with the consequences of their actions.

*On any given day the smartest kid in the world can do something really stupid…love them anyway and let them figure out how to stand on their own two feet, take responsibility and put the pieces back together with prayer and humility.

*You can’t say “I love you,” “God bless you,” and “don’t forget to pray” too often.

*When you are in one of those spots where all you can do is worry about them, just remember: God loves them more than you do! Just trust Him; He has a plan and He doesn’t need our input nearly as much as we think He does.

*The next time you find yourself praying for everything to be fine and for your kids to be happy and not disappointed or for them to succeed and not fail, remind yourself how much you learned through struggle and disappointment. Pray instead for them to be faithful, trusting and obedient to the plan!

*If you know really great kids, get to know their parents and see how they did it.

*Parenting great kids is hard work. If you’re doing your job right you’ll be loved, loathed, smart, stupid, old-fashioned, necessary and irrelevant all before lunch.

*The really great parents I know realize that you can love your kids, be thoroughly disappointed in your kids, be proud of your kids and maybe even wish you could pretend they belong to someone else for a moment or two but the bottom line is: you pray for them, ask God to help you love them, and return them to Him as saints.

Over the past 23 years sometimes I’ve gotten it right, but more times I’ve gotten it wrong. I’ve lost my patience too quickly and I’ve missed opportunities to say or do the right thing but I’ll never give up trying to do it better tomorrow and I’ll never stop thanking God for the amazing gift of mothering!

A Seed To Plant: The next time you see a young parent, offer them some encouragement or prayer.  The world needs great parents.

Blessings on your day!

Copyright 2016 Sheri Wohlfert
Image courtesy of Jessie Lynn Photography. All rights reserved.


About Author

Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to take a good look at the simple ways we can all find God doing joyful, blessed, amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.


  1. I completely agree with all of your points! My boys are 26, 23, & 21, and I think it’s harder now than it was when they were little. I worry about them more. I worry that I didn’t plant enough of those seeds. I worry that they won’t come back to the Church. I worry that I don’t have control over what they’re doing, and being somewhat of a control freak, that one is the hardest!!!
    One more point: We don’t need to be their FRIENDS. We need to be their PARENTS. 🙂

    • Good morning Mary…The “worries” certainly are different as they get older aren’t they! I have to remind myself that they belong to God and he loves them more than I do! Blessings on your day.

  2. This list is fantastic . I wish I’d known it was more helpful to let them fall when the distance wasn’t so big, then trying to always fix things for them. I was , still am, horrible at allowing my kids to experience any type of pains. Now I do more praying about situations before charging in on my white horse. Thanks Sheri for this thorough thought-provoking list!

  3. Thanks for your kind words Allison. Every time I’m tempted to charge in on my white horse (love that image) I have to stop and remind myself how much I learned from my own disappointments, frustrations and failures. I know I wouldn’t be half the woman God planned for me to be if my parents had swooped in and saved me. Just goes to prove that mothering is NOT for sissies! Blessings on your day!

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