FAIRMONT — (Editor’s note: This is the next in the weekly Family Times feature stories. Each week, the Times West Virginian features an active family who seems to have the knack for keeping it all together despite hectic schedules and demanding activities and professions. If you’d like to nominate a family, contact Managing Editor Misty Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
What does it take to be a good parent?
“Patience ... patience ... patience!” Pastor Chad Weaver said with a laugh.
He should know. He and his wife Dot are the proud parents of four children: Mickayla, 9; Sierra, 8; Cheyenne, 5; and Levi, just 8 months.
“Sometimes we feel outnumbered!” he said, chuckling. “But it’s all good. Kids are such a blessing. I wouldn’t trade them for anything, not even a million dollars.”
Again, another laugh. Every parent knows what he means.
So far, the three oldest children aren’t involved in school activities, but that day is coming.
“They pretty much do their own thing,” he said. “But we still need to feed them!” Another parental chuckle.
Weaver is a busy man. He works full time, runs two farms, mows grass for three properties and pastors a church full time.
“It’s tough but we make time for family. Maybe we’ll just sit on the front porch in the swing and watch them play. We make do with the time that we have.
“It’s a challenge,” he acknowledged. “But then they give you a hug and a kiss, and say, ‘I love you,’ and you forget all the other stuff.”
Like all parents, he and Dot keep and cherish the little notes and pictures their children make for them.
“It’s those little things,” he said. “They mean the entire world to us.”
There is a whole world of how-to-parent books out there. That’s all well and good, but nothing works like experience, he said.
“You more or less fly by the seat of your pants,” he said. “There is no book out there like what you have learned. You take that. I look back to the way I was raised ... in a Christian home. We’re teaching good morals for outside the church, too.
“It’s about being a good father, a good mother, a good parent. It’s all about God. He should be the center of the home and your relationship.”
And, as every parent knows, with children come mistakes. Your mistakes.
“You’re going to make mistakes,” he said. “Every parent does it in different ways. There is no right or wrong. You just take one day at a time. If you fail, you move on and do it right the next time.”
Remember way back when you were a kid and your parents were doing their jobs as parents and you’d look at them and vow, “I’m never gonna treat my kids like this?” Sure, you do. So does Chad Weaver.
And then, maybe just like you, he finds himself reverting back to his parents’ ways of childrearing.
“I am doing the same things in discipline that my parents did,” he said.
Most of all, he and Dot are quickly realizing just how fleeting their children’s childhoods will be.
“Life is short,” he said. “You have to live it to the fullest. They’re only kids once. My wife reminds me to spend time with the kids and watch them grow.”
The four little Weavers keep their parents very busy, he said. But he and Dot make sure they have “me” time.
He rides his bike, something that has helped him in a significant weight loss. He enjoys pastoring and working with the people in his church. And he doesn’t mind sneaking in a NASCAR race on TV.
Dot is the big reader in the family, he said, and also rides with him.
Still, they spend most of their time raising their children with the values that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
“We want them to live Christian lives, not just inside the church but outside as well,” he said. Instilling these values isn’t easy in today’s “almost anything goes” world.
“When we watch TV and we see children being mean to others, we tell them they do not act like that. At the beginning of school I give them this speech to treat other kids with respect. Other kids may not talk or act or walk like they do. Some may not be able to walk at all. But they’re not to let anybody mistreat these kids. ‘Do unto others.’
“We teach them to always treat everybody the same, no matter what their color is. We teach them there is no difference in color. Everybody is the same and equal in the eyes of God.”
Email Debra Minor Wilson at email@example.com.