Seven Things I Wish I Would Have Told My Kids



My wife and I have been empty nesters for five years.  Our house is quiet these days and there are three empty bedrooms that catch my attention every day.  Yes, I walk by them and actually miss the time when it was loud, messy, and crazy! It is even a little lonely without them. When I was in the heat of the moment as a younger Dad, there were oftentimes when I was overwhelmed with my job, tired, and worn out from all the parental responsibilities.  I often wish I could have a “do-over.”  I had it easy compared to my full-time working wife who juggled so many responsibilities that the thought of pulling off what she did still makes my head spin.  Those days were tough and I know that many times I was not fully engaged in loving my kids and encouraging them as I should have been.  That is why I wanted to write this blog post as a reminder to all young parents to stay engaged and don’t let the pressure of the moment steal one of the greatest opportunities of your lifetime - being with your kids when they are still at home with you.  

The day will come when they will move out and it is never the same - not necessarily bad, but definitely not the same.  


I remember the day when we dropped off our oldest at college.  I was physically unable to talk and communicate as we said goodbye - I was brokenhearted realizing that she was moving out and that our first had grown up. The moment hit me like a brick and I was caught off guard with the level of my emotions.  My wife and I cried like babies during our two-hour drive home. Our youngest didn’t realize that his sister wasn’t coming back with us until he saw us crying.  He as an eleven year-old he was shocked too. “You mean she isn’t coming back home with us?”  She started her new life of learning how to be an adult, and we learned our first lesson in letting go.  


With all of that backstory, I wanted to note seven things that I wish I would have clearly communicated over and over to my kids as they were growing up!

Here are the Seven Things that I Wish I Would Have Clearly Communicated regularly with our kids:

  1. No matter what you do or say, I will always love you and be your biggest fan!
  2. Jesus is alive and He cares for you more than I will ever be able to!  Develop a strong relationship with Him because that relationship with Him is the most important relationship you will ever have!
  3. If you ever make a mistake, you can run home to me because I will be here for you with open arms of love!
  4. If something I am doing seems unfair, I give you permission to come and tell me what you think and I will listen to what you have to say.  
  5. God will turn the biggest challenges of your life into your greatest opportunities.  
  6. Value God’s words (the Bible) as more important than any other words you hear from anyone else.  His words will never pass away and will always be true.  
  7. When I am gone, know that I am still alive and that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we will see each other again.      


Our kids are adults now and each successful in their own lives with their own families. They are starting the same process that we finished those short five years ago.  You hear something like this all the time, “Cherish every moment with your kids because it goes by so fast!”  Yes, it does and I often think back of how much I have learned since being a Dad of younger kids.  Why is it that God set us up to be so immature and “green” as parents of young children?  And on the flip side, why did God set it up that when we start to figure things out and become more mature, our kids are out of the house?  God’s ways often seem upside down from our perspective, but we can trust that He knows better than we do how to set things up.  I hope you will take this list and tell your kids at least one of the seven every day of every week.  Maybe you could print it out and post it on their bulletin board.  I believe that if I would have been diligent in reminding them of these seven things, they would have benefited deeply and it would have helped them during their “growing up” days.  As a dad of empty nesters, if I could go back to my younger self, I would make this one of my parenting priorities.  I hope you will do the same.  You will never regret the investment it will make with them!


Don Erehart

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