“What you know today can affect what you do tomorrow. But what you know today cannot affect what you did yesterday.” ~Condoleezza Rice
I became a mother thirteen years ago. My first kid was a bit of a guinea pig. I tried several parenting strategies on her. Time-outs, counting to three, swift discipline, positive reinforcement—you name it, I tried it. As we enter the teen years, I see the fruit of my multiple-personality parenting. She and I sometimes go round and round, each of us trying strategies that worked on the other at some time in our history.
I am a different parent today. My youngest is in the middle of the tormenting threes. He tries a few strategies to circumvent my parenting, but I’m wise to his game. My years of trial-and-error with his big sisters taught me what works. I stick with what I know works, resulting in much less frustration for us both.
I often wonder if my daughter’s teenage years would be easier if I knew then what I know now. Would I have less to correct had I been more consistent in the early years? I am tempted to beat myself up for my early parenting failures. Instead, I use these reflective moments to strengthen my resolve for consistency in the hard work of parenting today.
We constantly build on past knowledge. What we learn today starts with what we know from yesterday. We add tomorrow’s knowledge to today’s lessons. We will never know it all. The point is to keep moving forward.
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Photo courtesy of The Glorious Table: Photograph © Josh Applegate, used with permission