It’s a Chapter…Not the Book

465044903Child #1: Mom, after I graduate, my friends and I are going to take a cross-country road trip.”

Me: Really?  That will cost a lot of money. You’ll have to pay for gas, food, and hotel or camping expenses.

Child #1: We’ll sleep in our car so we’ll keep the expense down.

Me: That will get old very soon.

TEN YEARS LATER

Child #5: Mom, after I graduate, my friends and I are going to take a cross-country road trip.”

Me: Really? Where would you like to go?

Child #5: From the east coast to the west coast.

Me: Now that would be a lot of fun!

Wisdom is gained in experience. In my early parenting years, I felt it was my job to give my kids a reality check.  Now with years under my belt, I realize that dreaming with my kids is just as important, if not more important, than setting them straight.

Just last week another mom of young adults and I were discussing parenting challenges and what we have learned through the years.  We both agreed that if we could offer one word of advice to younger mothers it would be, “Chill.”

Then she said something that captured my attention.  She said, “I have to remind myself that it’s a chapter, not the book.”  She went on to explain that when dealing with a tough time in our kids life, it’s good to remind yourself that this is a chapter in their life, not the whole book.

As I’ve thought about that saying, I would sometimes add that “it’s a page, not a chapter.” The conversation up above would qualify as a page.  No trips were being planned. No money was being saved for such a trip. No real effort was being made toward such a thing. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill, mama.

Whether your child is 2, 12, or 22, don’t hesitate to dream along with them.  Resist the urge to throw a wet blanket on their fire.

If your child is going through a hard time or is making poor choices, keep the big picture in mind as you wade through the process.

After all, it’s a chapter, not the book.

What about you?  When have you needed some big picture perspective in your parenting or even in your own life?  

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6 Responses to It’s a Chapter…Not the Book

  1. c says:

    Absolutely! I am famous for saying, ‘that’s something to think about’. You’d like us to get a penguin as a pet? “Well, that’s something to think about. ” Dream along with them, you never know what amazing, crazy idea will become a reality – or spark another area of growth.

  2. Lisa M says:

    Thanks for those words of wisdom! Right on time, again. I have been trying to convey this message to my husband, who is the one for spot on reality checks. Your words speak this so well. Thank you!

  3. Sue Badeau says:

    THIS post is the theme of my life as a parent. This is why we titled our own book, “Are We There Yet?” Because always, always as a parent the answer is “NO – not yet!” I am often quoted saying, “We haven’t read the last chapter yet.” I used to say, “The last chapter isn’t written yet, but of course we KNOW that our father God has that last chapter written, we just haven’t seen or read it yet – there are many twists, turns, surprises, plot developments and more to come. And PS – thank you for including the “mom of 22” in here – love it! Love you!

  4. S says:

    Thank you for the reality check! What timely advice for me!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for this today Jill. Hits me right where I’m at with my 13 year old son not making the best decisions… I’m going to write down that chapter/book quote to remember :)

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