Be perfect for your children

Farm Forum

I’m reading a book called “99 Ways to Raise Spiritually Healthy Children” by Kathleen Long Bostrom. It’s not my usual reading fare, but any time I see something that I think will help me be a better parent, I’m game to read it.

The first thing the book reminded me is that you should forget about being a “perfect” parent. Instead, work on being “pretty good” or “good enough.” The term that spoke most to my heart? Be a perfect parent for your child.

This chapter came with three things to always remember: 1. Remind yourself that you’re only human. Let go of mistakes and missed opportunities. 2. Recognize things that you can’t control. Go with the flow. 3. Remember the big picture. You’re not in this alone.

Let go of the problems, realize your limitations and rely on grace. You can’t use someone else’s ruler to measure your worth as a parent. So stop doing it.

Why does this speak to me so much? I don’t think these words would have stopped me so completely had it not been for our youngest son.

Before he was born, we knew that he was trouble. Things didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked during my pregnancy, but at 39 weeks, he was born by Caesarean section. We left the hospital a few days later with a clean bill of health. But that bubble didn’t last long.

Late-onset jaundice, troubles gaining weight, something that seemed like colic, but not. Finally I gave in and went to the doctor and ended up spending a few days in the hospital, which led to a whirlwind of doctors.

What was wrong? It seemed like everything. Nothing made sense. Finally, we found an answer: low-protein diet, tons of doctor’s visits, extreme caution with illnesses. It’s been a crazy ride. But the payoff? Weight. Curiosity. Growth. Imagination. My son.

No, I have not been a perfect parent. But I have been the perfect parent for my son. And we have been so blessed that I couldn’t ask for more — but I still will.

According to science, my son is at high risk of dying before he turns 5. He’ll be 4 in April. According to science, my son should have developmental disabilities. His MRI shows the gaps where his white matter should be. He’s an extremely intelligent little boy who knows all his letters, colors, numbers and shapes. According to science, he should be sickly and weak. He hasn’t been in the hospital since this time last year. According to science, he shouldn’t be growing. His blood work shows that he produces no measurable amount of growth hormone. His pituitary gland is small and malformed. Yet he weighs 42 pounds and has grown 3 inches this year.

We are beating odds and blowing away science. And we won’t quit pushing.

No, I am not a perfect parent. But I am perfect for my son. And he is perfect for me.

Val Wagner is raising her four boys on the farm in Dickey County, along with her husband, Mark. Catch her blog, Wag’n Tales, at, or follow one of their cows on Twitter at Cows_Life. Contact her at