Letters From Meaningful Moms

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My son, Nathan, my daughter, Heather, and me

From Rev. Dr. Maureen Hoyt – Reflections of a Mom of Grown kids

Dear Meaningful Moms,

Although my children are grown now and wholly responsible adults, they were raised in a much different environment than it seems children today are raised. I was a “late bloomer” as a mom. My first child, a daughter, was born at my age 33+, and my second child, a son, was born at 39+. All the moms at my children’s schools were in their 20s, so it was sometimes a stretch to find things in common for us to converse about. One of the major rules in our house was about honesty, and my children knew that there was no punishment for telling the truth. I might be totally pissed off and annoyed at their behavior, but if they told the truth, they were not punished. It still works today with my granddaughter. The other thing we taught as parents was manners and morals. Please and thank you were prevalent in our house. Neither child ever had to be told to say thank you or please; they just knew that this was how their dad and I operated, and they learned by our actions. Today, I see parents of 13-14 years old children still telling them to say “thank you.” While I realize it’s a different time (30 years different to be exact), our children played outside every day. Yes, they had TV privileges and computer privileges, but for the most part, they spent their weekends and summer days playing outside at the park . They also learned the value of a dollar. When my son was little, I had a part time day care so I could stay at home. When my daughter came home from school, she would help me with the children. For every dollar she received for babysitting that she put in her savings account, I gave her an additional $.25. By the time she was 17 years old, she bought and paid for her own car. My son was not nearly so industrious, but he manages his money quite well these days. The last thing I did with them that has been challenged by many of my friends had to do with their allowance. They received it weekly, come rain or come shine. Their allowance had nothing to do with their having to do specific chores or participate in the household in any way. I never, ever withheld their allowance if they didn’t do what was expected of them. I had an expectation and both children fulfilled it. One of my teachers said to me, “Always expect the best.” And I did that with my kids. This is not to say that I was a perfect parent. I had my ups and downs just like we all do, but I never compromised my children’s integrity. When there was errant behavior, we talked about it, and generally speaking, the conversation served to change the behavior. I gave both my children egg timers, and when we got home from school every day (and me from work), they took their egg timers into their rooms, set them for an hour, and spent quiet time alone to regroup while I did the same thing, having a cup of tea or when I smoked, a coffee and cigarette in the peace and quiet of the patio. My children always knew they were loved beyond measure, and there was nothing they could say or do that would make me change my mind about that. Today, my granddaughter has been raised with some of these same rules, and she is a welcome playmate for her friends because their parents like being around a child who is so gracious and mannerly. 

Rev. Dr. Maureen Hoyt

Spiritual Director

Center for Spiritual Living,  Westlake Village

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