“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.” Psalm 139:1-4
I opened my laptop to get some work done and took a quick detour to Facebook just to see what was happening there. To my surprise I found that the following had been posted on my wall by my 24 year old son:
“Romans 13:7- Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” I just want to take a moment to give a shoutout to the worlds best mom. She has never stopped trying to be the best mom she could be. When I walk by a playground or go to Safeway or walk around campus I remember the great times as a child that I had with you at those places. I love you mom.”
Caleb is a quiet man and he rarely shares his feelings like this, especially on Facebook, so I was really shocked (yet very blessed–there may have been some tears!) to see that he had taken the time to share this.
As a mom of two grown kids, I often reflect back on the years of raising them and wonder if I did enough or spent enough time with them. I remember how busy we were homeschooling, running to sporting events, and the busyness of running a home. I know that it doesn’t seem like it when you are in the thick of things, but those years of raising kids eventually become a blur! They pass so quickly.
What I found significant about the things that my son remembered was that it was the daily life stuff that provided him the good memories. The times that he and I would go to the grocery store – just the two of us. Simple things like the daily walks and the visits to the neighborhood playground. Those were the times he remembers and those were the times I remember setting down my agenda and the busy tasks of each day, and taking the time to focus on him.
When my children were young, I would think about the future and I often battled the fear of what might happen as they got older. We had such a sweet relationship when they were little, and I didn’t want to lose that. I knew it would change, but I wanted to keep the closeness.
The Gift Of Tuning In
One of the things I sensed God leading me to do is to nurture my relationship with my children by pursuing them, connecting with them, and tuning in, in any way possible. The way that connecting has been accomplished over the years has looked a little different with each season, but God has given wisdom as I needed it. This has always involved actively “tuning in” to my children’s thoughts and feelings, and reflecting back to them that they are valued.
Tuning in requires time and concentrated effort on my part, but it is well worth it. Tuning in was not a gift my own parents knew how to offer me and I grew up with a sense that I was not heard and that the things I thought and felt were not important. I didn’t have a voice as I was growing up, and that left me feeling like I was not capable of much. That feeling carried into my adult life and has been a lie that God has worked in me to correct.
Because of my personal experience, I went into my own parenting journey determined to learn how to tune in to my children. I wanted them to know that what they thought and felt was valid, valued, and that they are smart and capable people.
Learning to tune in and listen to our children can begin when they are very young. It may seem that because they are young the things they talk about are not very important, but we can get into the habit of really hearing what they say. What might seem like small issues to us is their reality. It is a big deal to them. It is what is important to them.
REFLECT AND APPLY:
When you look into your future and think about the kind of relationship you want to have with your children, what does it look like? Are there things that need to be changed or adjusted in order to accomplish what you desire for your relationship? Take some time to pray and ask God to show you how you can tune-in to your children. He will show you!
**This 25 Day journey is based on my book “Grace Gifts: Celebrating Your Children Every Day“. You do not need the book to go through “25 Days of Grace“, but if you are interested, you can purchase a copy HERE!