As I’m sure you are aware, we have been hosting two Latvian orphans for four weeks. As our time together draws to a close, I have been reflecting on things I have learned from them these past four weeks, and how I see things differently. To be specific I have been thinking about my four biological kids (all boys) and how I should lead/love them. Because while the blog and my Facebook may have been more about the Latvians these past four weeks, I could not be more proud to be the Daddy of these four other boys. But I digress…
Things I have learned from my Latvians:
1) Say Yes More.
When “P” and “L” first got here we were trying had to please them by letting them do (basically) whatever they wanted- essentially whatever they would eat (that we had), play with whatever toy they wanted to (unless it was one of the boys “favorite” ones)…the examples continue, but you get the picture. I actually became convicted because there are times that I find myself defaulting to “No” with my boys, especially the oldest (Kaden).
That’s not what I want for my kids. I do not want them to look back on their childhood and remember Daddy always telling them “No” to things, especially to the things that are insignificant in the long run. I want to strive for my default answer to be “Yes” to them, I do not want to be the tyrannical Daddy that you see in the stores, or see on TV riding their kids. Do not hear me say that there would not be any rules, or that there would not be any discipline- we are not talking about those sort of things, but the everyday activities. This was one of the things I resolved to do better in my New Years post, and it is because of my Latvians that I have realized what an issue it really is.
2) Appreciate More
Today marks the next to last day that I will have with my Latvians. While it is incredibly heartbreaking, it also makes me appreciate my other kids that much more. I do not want my boys to ever feel like they are less important than anyone/anything else in the world. I want to appreciate each and every day that I have with them, appreciate each moment, because they are growing up way too quick. I was looking through some pictures of our kids from just last year and it is amazing to see the differences that one year has made.
I want my boys to remember that their Daddy was never too busy to stop and play with them, to stop and talk to them about their latest Lego project, to stop and talk about what calls I had at work, or just stop and answer one of the forty gazillion questions that get asked every day. There will be a day that they will be grown and gone from the house and I do not want to live with any regrets with how I raised them. I want to treasure each and every day that I have with them. Anticipating losing my Latvians for the next six months has made me realize how I need to focus on every day with my boys.
3) Love More
If there is something I have always tried to do with my boys it is to tell them how much I love them. I do not want there to ever be even the slightest doubt in their mind how much their Daddy loves them. But I could still do a better job. Brandi and I have pushed hard to make “P” and “L” (aka- My Latvians) realize how much we love them. In doing that I have made sure that if I was telling one person that I loved them- I went around the room and told everyone that I loved them.
I should be even better- I want my boys to know exactly how much, and why I love them. There is no doubt that I love these four little boys with all of my heart. Words cannot describe how proud I am of the young man that Kaden is already starting to turn into (the only downside is that he is starting to act more like his Daddy every day which is terrifying to me). The same goes for the other three as well. I am incredibly blessed to be able to call them my sons, and I should be working hard to show them each day.
Having my two Latvians with us has truly been a Grand Adventure, one that I will likely continue to post about. I hope that they have learned some things- what it is to be loved, what it is to be a part of a “normal” family, what it is like to have a Mama and Daddy. One thing I know for certain is that I have learned some amazing lessons. This Grand Adventure has given to me two more kids to love- and it has caused me to love my own kids even more.
What lessons have you learned when you were supposed to be the one teaching?
Are there any areas in your relationship with your kids that could use some tweaking?