When I saw that, I thought, 'well I can't very well post my very similar sounding post'. Why? Well, because folks could think I was copying him, but worse - much worse - y'all may go comparing.
Being compared with Tim Challies' blog isn't what most of us want out of life.
And so I waited. Mr Challies then, very inconsiderately, decided to add 18 Things I will Not Regret Doing with my Wife blog post.
And so I waited. Finally, his wife posted her excellent 18 Things I will Not Regret Doing with my Husband.
Y'all really need to head over and read them. But one condition: no comparing.
And so to my original post:
Despite my many regrets at my very many failings as a mother, right now I'm going to do a very un-Highland thing, and look at the bright side.
Here are ten things I will not regret about these past years. They are in no particular order:
1. Taking the plunge
Homeschooling was almost unheard of here when we began on this journey; I cannot remember receiving any personal words of encouragement from any person, and yet, doing what we knew God was calling us to do is first on my no-regrets list.
Most homeschoolers will testify to the fact that homeschooling is so much more than 'schooling at home'. It really is a complete way of life. There are some aspects of it I'd do differently if I was starting out now, but still ... I don't think I'll ever stop being amazed at God's leading of us into this wonderful life.
2. Open home
We have often had the kids' friends in our home, and I will always be glad we did. We have loved getting to know these teenagers, and it's been to our benefit to have had an open-door home. Our distance from town means we don't have the young folks getting together in our home as often as we'd like, but not once will I regret any of the times our home has been invaded by some great groups of kids.
This also means that our friends are also our children's friends. In general, our troops don't see age as a barrier to a person being their friend. For that, I'm very, very glad.
Many times, we have had a packed Lounge, filled with the Lord's people who are ready to talk all night about what God has been doing in their lives, or about what they've read or heard of God's Word recently. These blessings are impossible to put into words.
3. Reading aloud
I think I would say that my favourite part of our 'school' day is our time of reading aloud. 'One more chapter, Mum. Pleeeeease', is the norm when I go to close the book. And let's face it - who can resist a wee fella's pleas?
Whether we were homeschooling or not, reading aloud is definitely a habit I'd be recommending. So far, our favourite books have included the whole Little House series and the Viking Quest series.
4. Watching movies ... together
And only having one Goggle box (although laptops and ipads have negated some of this benefit, admittedly). We've had lovely family nights of filling our coffee table with chocolates, ice-creams, cups of tea, cans of juice (hate 'em), and shoving a DVD into the player.
These nights have, admittedly, resulted in whole conversations around our dinner table being quoted from one movie or another.
Frank from Father of the Bride is Catherine's speciality. Her Frank impressions normally lead me to looking at the Builder and saying, in my most serious voice, 'Mr Bennett, life holds few distinctions, but I believe I can truly say that here we have some of the silliest girls in Scotland'.
5. Family holiday
In 2008, we headed across The Pond for our very first family holiday. By that stage, we'd been married for about eighteen years, and we'd never been able to have a real, money-costing, family holiday.
We could have used the money to finish our house completely and especially to have made our drive suitable for all vehicles and not just off-road 4x4 types. And yes, all these years later, our drive is still full of water-filled holes, but you know what...? I wouldn't swap that first amazing family holiday, and the incredible memories it created, for any amount of tarmac.
Our trip = priceless.
6. Being interested
Our older kids may think I'm nosy, but I prefer calling it 'interested'. Staying interested (or nosy, if you insist) in every detail of their lives is something I reckon they'll be glad for some day. I'm trying to stay interested in the Wee Guy's incessant ramblings about football, but I have to be honest in saying that it's getting to be a struggle. (And yes, Mother, I do realise this is pay-back for the countless conversations you had to endure from us about that very same subject. But at least it was Rangers then ... not just facts and figures about players, squads, positions, transfer fees, number of goals scored last season, number of goals scores this season ... on and on and on.)
Y'all get my drift?
However, back to the point ... I will never regret the times I have been interested in all aspects of the kids' lives. Even the times my probing has got on their nerves ...
I'm counting on them being glad one day.
Some of my kids are naturally more huggy than others, but all our kids get hugged.
A lot. And I will never regret it. Sometimes, when we are too tired to talk, or when it's not easy to find the appropriate words, hugs are the way to go.
I'm glad that, even as our older children have grown up, our habit of giving and receiving hugs, and of sitting snuggled up together on the sofa has not left us.
8. Mum first
Sometimes, as the children got older, it was tempting to be their Friend first and their Mum second, but I am glad that I often risked them thinking ill of me because I realised that my primary responsibility was to be a parent. Being their friend came second to my role of discipling, leading, guiding and disciplining. There's a fine line here when our kids grow into their teen years, and on many levels they are our friends.
Tough love ... Sometimes, it's just gotta be done.
Who? Me?? Talking???
I will never regret all kinds of opportunities we took to talk. Sometimes these talks took the form of one-to-ones in the car, in the kitchen, or sitting on a bed; sometimes they were family affairs around the table, or snuggled on the sofas in the Family Room.
At times, they were Talks. You know what I mean by Talks. If you lower your voice by about five octaves, give yourself a double chin and say, 'a Talk', you will know exactly what I mean.
A child may have something weighing heavily on his or her heart. He or she may have done something they now regret. There may be a need for them to talk through a situation in which they're struggling to find the 'right way' as opposed to the 'wrong way'.
Other talks are simply times of blethering. Yarns about work, about friends, about the movie we just watched, about football (See #6), or about their latest holiday plans. We may begin reminiscing about fun times we've had in the past, or they'll begin talking about the Youth Conference they attended in Grand Rapids, or the one they were at much closer to home, in Arbroath.
Many times, our blethers end in, ahem, some heated talk. Often times they end with some of us rolling on the floor, weak laughing! Either way, as the old adage goes: It's good to talk...
10. God's Word
This is the bottom line and my constant advice to them. Search the Scriptures, steep yourselves in the Word, get to know the Author and what He has to say to you.
This is what will give our kids the wisdom they need for the rest of their lives. I wish I spent more - much more - time reading God's Word, and teaching it to our kids, but I will never regret a minute of the time we have spent reading it, discussing it, listening to sermons on it. I hope our kids know that knowing the Word that was made flesh, Christ Jesus, as their Saviour, and living to His glory is what I've wanted for them since they were born ... before they were born, in fact.
~ ~ ~
What would you add to this list? Remember, it's things we do not regret.... my life is full enough of things I do regret: this post is looking at the other side.
It'll be some time before I see the sun setting while I sit in my favourite chair. I'm adding this photo simply because I like to savour these sunsets even at this time of year. Or maybe especially at this time of year.
I'm only allowing myself a list of ten, but I may just sneak in here one more non-regret: I do not regret my regular oohing and ahhing over God's amazingly beautiful creation.