A Return on Our Investment

January 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Diane Mayfield –

Raising children is quite a lengthy investment with no real guarantee of a certain return. It’s probably the only investment my dear husband embraced with me that had no tangible outcome. We raised three children, two years apart, all believers. That is worth the investment for sure but there have been others.

While raising them, we prayed together, read Scripture as a family and were involved with our church. We set boundaries, gave them responsibilities and established consequences for their choices. Family traditions were important to building family values and cohesiveness so we created many, like vacations to the beach and skiing. I planned evening meals together for most days. In short, we did what most Christian parents do. We did the best we could to “train them up in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV)

For us that meant, not only appropriate discipline and exposing them to Christian values but also discovering with them who God created them uniquely to be. That meant allowing for self-expression that wasn’t always pleasant or what we would have chosen, like the time we allowed our son to get a spike haircut. Our thought was that if we allowed choices of self- expression that were harmless, he might not feel the need to make more self-destructive choices.

Then the teenage years hit and the roller coaster began. Verbal self –expression of feelings and desires played into the discovery. I’ll never forget the day my 16 -year old- son said to my husband, “I want to punch you out right now.” My husband calmly said “You seem really angry. How come?” An honest conversation ensued. My son’s anger dissipated. Peace was restored to the family.

Frankly, I wasn’t sure what path our son would follow. A few years ago, we begin to get a return on that investment. One evening, our son and his wife were sitting with us on the back porch of our home. He had just won a big sales award and we were celebrating. Here’s the first return. He said, “You know I would never have won this if it wasn’t for you guys, especially you Dad. You gave me my work ethic and that’s what won it for me.” Wow! Dave and I were blown away. Those words were like a taste of rich, creamy homemade ice cream. A return we had only hoped for but didn’t know it would really come.

Another return came several months ago. My son called and asked if I would talk with him before I left for home. We spent the next two hours discussing the dynamics of our relationship. I was so proud of my son’s relational courage.

One more stands out to me happened a few weeks ago. He sent a forward from a friend. He wrote in his e-mail “this really speaks to me.” It was a verse from the book of Phillippians.

There have been other sweet returns from the invested years of parenting. All our children practice some of our family traditions. The beach is still very important in their lives. They are all believers though they express their faith differently. Our son and his wife lead a small group last year in their church. His wife told me he seems to have the gift of teaching. What a sweet return.

I really had no idea if our parenting years would reap the investment I longed for. But, we have received abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined, as only the Lord would do.

About Diane Mayfield

Diane, a follower of Jesus, has a Bachelor of Journalism Degree, a Master’s Degree in Education with a specialty in counseling and is a Certified Coach. Married for 35 years and after raising three children, she returns to one of her first loves-writing.
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