Ten Things My Parents Did Right
Written by Pastor Josh Turansky, son of Dr Scott and Carrie Turansky
When I look back on my childhood I can identify ten key decisions my parents made that deeply impacted who I am today. These were tough choices, not because they were hidden mysteries that needed to be discovered, but because these decisions cost my parents their time, money, dignity, privacy, or comfort. Today I am the husband, father, and pastor I am because of my parents intentional selflessness.
Here are the ten decisions my parents made that changed my life:
1. Passed on their Faith
My parents passed on their faith in three distinct ways. They taught us the Bible from an early age. They shared their own experiences with God. And they brought us along with them in their ventures of faith. This was the foundation that led to all other lessons in my life.
2. Homeschooled Me
…and boy, did I need it. I struggled through the first two years of school because of some learning disabilities. Halfway through first grade my parents pulled me out so I could be homeschooled. This decision gave me an opportunity to learn at my own pace and retain a love for learning. But this was a costly decision. My mom laid down her life for me so that I could learn in a positive environment.
3. Chose Not to Have a Television
Growing up, we did not have broadcast television in our home. We were able to watch videos every once in a while, but we never had a functioning TV. Through this decision my parents laid down their own desire to unwind by enjoying TV so that we could learn the value of retaining youthful innocence, redeem time doing other things, and realize the importance of spending time together as a family.
4. Coached My Baseball Team
We were the worst team for three consecutive years. It wasn’t my dad’s fault. We were just awful. We never won more than two games in a season. But as a nine-year-old I learned the value of teamwork, friendship, and sportsmanship.
5. Lived in Africa for a Year
Between 1996 and 1997 we lived in Kenya, Africa for nine months. This was my ninth grade year of high school. This time became the highlight of my teen years. Through this season I learned the value of simplicity because we were only allowed to bring two suitcases with us and most of what we brought was clothing. I also learned that other cultures were not wrong because they were different from my culture. I still view this nine-month trip as one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me.
6. Supported My Love for Reading
My parents and I had a deal. When I completed a book, they would buy me a new book. This meant that I had a constant stream of good books while I was growing up. Through this deal my parents modeled the value of reading. They also made it possible for me to work as an intern at a Christian bookstore, which gave me exposure to some great books.
7. Made Me Save Part of my Allowance
My parents gave me an allowance … I think I received $1.50 every Saturday morning. But there were some clear rules associated with this money. One sixth went to savings. One sixth went to tithe. And one sixth went to missions giving. The remaining 50% was spending money. As a seven-year-old I had a savings account in a glass jar, and I was supporting missionaries. Through these rules I learned the value of good stewardship and the principle of the tithe.
8. Had a Big Family
I was the oldest of five kids. But my two youngest sisters were a special addition. In 1991 my parents decided to expand our family by adopting twin sisters: Megan and Elizabeth. Living with four siblings, two of whom were adopted, helped me understand the depth of love my parents had for their immediate family. They truly wanted to love God with the size of their family, and I saw their self-sacrifice through this decision.
9. Pushed Me to Work as a Teenager
When I was eleven years old my dad asked me to start mowing the lawn. Soon after I started mowing our lawn, a neighbor came over and offered to pay me $15 to mow his lawn. Little did I know what I was signing up for. It was only through my dad’s strong encouragement that I was able to finish mowing both lawns that day. I vividly remember lying on my bed, wet from sweat, wanting to quit. But my Dad encouraged me to get back out there and finish the job. Thus began my long and illustrious history of landscaping. I learned the value of hard work and perseverance.
10. Let Me Go to College Early
When I was sixteen I sat my parents down for a serious conversation. I told them that I wanted to graduate from high school early so that I could go to Bible College. This was not necessarily their plan for my life, but at the same time, they had raised me to follow God’s guidance and to take steps of faith. After thinking about my request for a couple of days, they decided to let me move forward with my plan and offered to pay for my college education.
Parenting involves a lot of dying … right from the very beginning. Sleepless nights, loud and disruptive environments, messy houses, and piles of laundry are only the beginning. Every parent is faced with tough choices as they raise their kids. Most of the time the decisions are difficult because parents have to make great sacrifices to do the right thing. Parents know what their kids need, but doing the right thing can be costly. It’s a matter of the will.
In my own life, I’m grateful for the difficult decisions my parents made. I know that I’m the beneficiary of their self-sacrifice. It is kind of like my relationship with God. I live because he died.
“Thus death is actively at work in us, but [it is in order that our] life [may be actively at work] in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:12 Amplified Version
How did your parents’ decisions affect your life for good? And what decisions are you making today that are costly, but hopefully beneficial for your child?