April Jeppson: Parenting is hard work, but well worth it

Published 8:45 pm Friday, October 8, 2021

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I want to tell you about my friend Hailey. I first met her when she was 15. She coached pre-school gymnastics with me. It always impressed me how responsible she was. If I worked 100 shifts with her, she was smiling and happy for 97 of them. I remember what it’s like being that age, and it’s not always easy.

April Jeppson

She showed up for her shifts, even when she wasn’t feeling well. She took the initiative to find a replacement on days when she wasn’t able to work. She was great with the kids and was fun to talk to. She is so sweet and kind. In the three years that I’ve known her, she has only become more awesome.

I work with a lot of high school kids at my various jobs. For the most part, they are good workers — nice to the other staff and able to accomplish their tasks. Some of my favorite co-workers are in high school, like Hailey.

I don’t think we give enough credit to these kids.

Or their parents.

Raising children is hard. I’ve mentioned it before. You really don’t know if you’re doing a good job until years later. If I cook dinner and it is an epic fail, I will know within minutes. The turnaround for most tasks is pretty fast. But not parenting. You can try and try and try, and you just have to cross your fingers and hope you did enough.

These kids I work with, the good ones, I know their parents did a good job. Whenever I get the chance, I like to reach out to their mom or dad and thank them. The sparkle that comes to a parent’s eye when they get a compliment on their child, it’s priceless. We can’t take credit for every good thing our children do, just like we shouldn’t blame ourselves for every bad thing they do. But for a parent to get some token of feedback that their child is doing well, it means the world.

I recently had an experience working with a teenager, and, frankly, it wasn’t the best. She would try and get out of her shifts, make excuses about why she couldn’t do what she was asked and often her attitude was, well, crappy. I can accredit most of that to being in high school. Like I previously stated, it’s hard being that age. I can tolerate and look past most things. The kicker for me is how a person decides to quit a job.

People leave positions all the time, not really a big deal. I had someone quit today actually. They walked in, asked to talk to their supervisor and explained how they got a different job and wouldn’t be able to work past a certain date. It wasn’t a big deal and it was handled quickly and painlessly. T

each your children to put in a two-week notice. Explain to them that taking care of a problem right away is easier than avoiding it. A hard truth is better than an easy lie. I know that as parents we can’t control everything our children do. However, I also know how much influence we have over our kids. Parenting is hard work, but I promise you, all the effort is worth it.

So please, talk to your children. Better yet, listen.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.