Logan, Hayden and Madison. Photo taken by my cousin Nada from Loresh Photography

As many of you would already be aware, I have three great kids.  Hayden almost seven and Madison and Logan are now four.

They are growing up very quickly, but the temptation sometimes as a parent is to wish that they were older and more independent or pine for the days when they were cute little babies.

It’s hard work being a parent and the sleep deprivation, lack of peace and quiet, tantrums and petty arguments that we are experiencing at the moment can cause me to not appreciate my kids as much as I should.

As such, this list is as much more about me developing a proper perspective of gratitude than anything else.  If you’re in a similar situation, I hope that you find this list helpful.

So here are the 10 reasons why I appreciate my beautiful kids just as they are:

  1. They’re not embarrassed to be seen with us.  I know that one day I’ll be the dorky dad who will embarrass them in public, but at the moment, they still enjoy holding my hand and giving me a hug in front of others.
  2. They learn so quickly.  At the age they each are, their minds are constantly taking in new information and they seem to be learning new words, concepts and skills every day.  It’s amazing to watch.
  3. They’re hilarious.  Most parents of young kids will tell you that their kids say and do some very funny things at times.  Some on purpose, most accidentally, but consistently giving Karen and I something to laugh at in the midst of the chaos.
  4. They still come in for cuddles.  Whilst this is also frustrating at times and is responsible for the loss of many hours of much-needed sleep, it’s still nice that our kids can sneak into our bed in the middle of the night when they feel like it.  The day will come when they are too big for this, so I need to appreciate it more.
  5. They still think that I’m super-human.  The day will come when they realise that their dad is a flawed, unathletic geezer, but in the mean-time it’s nice that they think that I’m the strongest, fastest and smartest man in the world and that I really can do Jedi mind tricks.
  6. The simple things in life are still enough.  It doesn’t take much to keep them happy and they still enjoy jigsaws, board games, gardening, crayons and play dough.  Electronic gadgets have yet to fully invade their world and the longer it stays like that the better.
  7. They like to feel helpful.  Whilst they are rarely actually helpful, that they like to participate in making breakfast, sweeping the floor and tidying up is really nice.
  8. They’re a gift.  Starting a family was a long and frustrating journey for us, so we really feel that they are a gift from God to us.  There was a very real chance that we would never be able to have kids, so I need to remember that and be more grateful for their presence in our lives.
  9. What we sow now, we’ll reap later.  If I don’t enjoy them now, there’s every chance that I won’t invest the time and energy required to build meaningful relationships with each of my kids in the future.  If we don’t continue to make the hard decisions regarding discipline and boundaries now, they will be even tougher to manage in years to come.  Whilst I don’t want to waste time wishing that they were older, I do need to maintain a long-term perspective with them so that we take the necessary steps to invest in their future.
  10. They’re not teenagers!  Do I need to explain this further?

That’s my list of reasons to appreciate my kids more.

If you’re a parent, is there anything else that you would add to this list?

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