Recently, my eldest child, my amazing firstborn who’s in his first year of middle school, received the school’s IMPACT award for students who make a difference. I had no idea what the IMPACT award meant. In order to receive the IMPACT award you must be nominated by a teacher. Each teacher can pick one student every nine weeks to receive this award. The award is given to students who have strong character, leadership skills, and a servant’s heart.
When I found out that our son was nominated, I was not really all that shocked, honestly. He is a great kid. He is a typical sixth grader: he jokes around, goofs off, cares way too much about his hair and peer approval, and like all the others, is a little awkward. Then there are ways in which he stands out and always has. He has bright, welcoming eyes, a huge smile, sensitive, a giver, a jokester, is inclusive, and the kid that does not like drama and wants everyone to get along.
I felt so honored when my son was chosen. When we attended the special breakfast ceremony, my son received a certificate, a medal, and a special t-shirt that says, “ IMPACT-Difference Makers.” During the ceremony, I could not help it when tears filled my eyes. The teacher said things like, “These kids are resilient, they are the doers, the helpers, they will change the world, we are proud of them and we are proud of you (the parents) for raising upstanding young people.” Then the tears started flowing, as my son told me, “Stop mom, you gotta stop.”
The feeling I had all day was one of pride. I am not a prideful person but I am so proud of him. It is an honor for him to be our son. I was 23 when I had my son and I knew nothing about life or parenting. He made us parents. He changed us. He was always an easygoing kid, bright eyed, caring, soft hearted. I am beyond grateful this young man, our son, still has those same character traits.
I share this story with you, because I know what it is like to feel like you are “failing” as a mom or that you do not know what you are doing. Times that you throw your hands up because you feel like everything you are doing is wrong or ineffective. When we yell too much or when we have that awful mommy guilt creep into our heads, then our hearts, and it overwhelms us. I get it. I totally get it.
Parenting is not easy. It is hard. Once you have a child, it is up to you. Everything is up to you. How do you want to raise your child? What and how are you going to parent? You must live by example. For us, we raise our three kids to live with the same very qualities that my son received the IMPACT award for. INTEGRITY, MAKE A DIFFERENCE, PERSERVERANCE, ACCOUNTABILITY, COMPASSIONATE, and TEAMWORK. Along with resilience, grit, a servant’s heart, and respect, to name a few. It is not easy, all the time, but it is worth all the overthinking, over-doing, tears, sleepless nights, doubting, neglecting ourselves; it is worth it.
I am not writing this to show that my husband or me are perfect. We are clearly not. But I will not lie, my TLC (my son) receiving this award and listening to such kind words said about MY son really hit home for me.
Things were hard when he was little, we made a ton of mistakes; there was a lot of change and moving, but to know now that at 12 years old, we did some things and are doing some things “right” is quite an acknowledgment to not only him, but to us. Who would have thought we are pretty good at this parenting thing?!
I know many of us parents can relate to this feeling I have and the scary, hard parts of parenting. I know many of us are raising our children to live a life that leaves an IMPACT on this crazy world we are living in. We need more children in this generation to live with IMPACT. We need more believers, more dreamers, more lovers, more compassionate hearts, more givers, less takers, less hate. Be an example, parent by example, of the change you wish to see in this world. It will not be easy but I promise you, it WILL be worth it. Your children are worth it.