“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” Colossians 3: 12
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
As our children were growing up, my husband and I would regularly take the time to ask each child if there was anything that we were doing that bothered, hurt, or frustrated them. It often brought to light things that we didn’t realize we were doing. It gave us insight into where they were and how we could best encourage them. We started doing this when they were very young.
I remember clearly the day I sat with my then elementary school age son, and asked him if there was anything I was doing or saying that frustrated him, or anything I needed to work on as a mom. He quietly thought for a few minutes and then said, “Well, Mom, sometimes at night when I wake up and I am scared, I call out to you. And sometimes you get irritated. That kind of hurts my feelings.” Grieved by my lack of sensitivity, I asked him to forgive me and told him it was something I would work on. I thanked him for being brave enough to be honest with me. And from that day on I purposed to try to respond better when he woke me up in the middle of the night because he was afraid.
Practicing tuning in over the years has been very eye opening and humbling, but it has shown our children that we are people who are in process just like they are. It has helped to pull our children closer to our side, helped my husband and I become better listeners, and has been used as a tool to help us become even better parents.
The Key: Humility
If we want our children to be open and honest with us, if we want them to WANT us to tune in, we must model humility. We must admit when we are wrong — even if what we have done or said was not intentional! We must be willing to ask for forgiveness if we have offended or hurt our children in some way.
A parent can make every effort to tune in, but if we don’t take the time to listen to our children’s input and humbly admit when we are wrong, we will miss out on what I believe is one of the most important things a parent will ever do! It is one of the key elements of tuning in. It may well be the one thing that will make or break your relationship with your kids and determine whether or not they will feel free to even allow you to tune in.
If we are unable to receive input, we make excuses for our behavior, say that we are “too old to change,” or get offended when things are brought to our attention— we are the ones who lose! We will lose relationships with our children, hinder our relationship with God, lose opportunities to grow and be humbled, lose the chance to set an example, and lose the respect of our children. But if we live humbly before our children each day? We win! The whole family wins.
REFLECT AND APPLY:
Reflect and Apply: Did you realize how important it is for you to tune in to your children, even when they are very young, and that it will lay a foundation for the kind of relationship you will have later on? Take some time to evaluate and pray, asking the Lord to show you how you can offer your children the grace gift of tuning in and humility to your children.
**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!