Parenting hasn’t been the gentle walk I envisioned, it’s been a tsunami that continually humbles me. Life would be easier if I had robotic children, but God wouldn’t receive a drop of glory because I’d steal it all and walk in my own strength.
This list of recycled life’s wisdom from my short experience in the parenting trenches represents the simple things in life that we quickly shelf.
1. Face Time (Apple products aside)
Slow down and look into the eyes of your child. I’m not referring to those drill sergeant moments when kids are commanded, “Look me in the eyes”. What about all the other times? When the day begins, when we pick our kids up, when we’re eating a meal. Take time to notice the awe, wonder, mischief and frustration swirling in the eyes of your child.
2. Get Physical
I’ve noticed as my kids grow in independence I begin to fill the time I spent hugging, snuggling and tickling them with a million odds and ends that I haven’t been able to get done in six years. Those moments of physical touch or combat are easily replaced by the need to tackle the always-mounting pile of laundry, dishes, dirty floors, organizing… STOP! If we were able to put the small chores aside all those years, they can be put off a few more while we fill the hug tank. Grab your child, and load him up with hugs and kisses!
I’m not just talking about the wee ones! Sure kids will naturally pull away, but their hug tank needs to be filled to the brim, even if they don’t realize it. We make them brush their teeth and eat their veggies because it’s good for them, why wouldn’t we make them get their hug? Even though they’re reluctant and they may even go limp like a toddler throwing a fit, DO IT!
3. Raise Your Voice
Tell your child you love him. Let the words penetrate to his core so there is no doubt about your love. Clearly it needs to be shown by what you do, but words are powerful. Like a catchy song that gets stuck in your head, let your words of love and encouragement be the default for his mind’s playlist. I have much to learn about parenting but when I say, “Have I told you today”- I’m abruptly interrupted with a smile on either child’s face that tells me, “Yeah mom, you love me and God loves me too.” Yes, this is one of the acceptable reasons to interrupt in my home.
4. Give Your Kids a Concealed Carry Permit
You heard me correctly. Now that the school year has settled in, those lunch notes are probably sporadic or nonexistent now. DON’T STOP! Hide notes of encouragement, love and affirmation in jacket pockets, backpacks, books and lunch boxes.
5. Give A Pass
This takes great deal of humility and courage. Take a quiet moment with your child and let her know she can tell you anything without receiving a consequence for it. My three year old humbled me a couple weeks ago when I asked her, “How can I be a better mommy to you?” Her sincere and gentle response, “Don’t be grouchy with daddy” floored me. Never before would I have known how deeply interactions with my husband were affecting our sweet girl! I was humbled and made a commitment to God and her to work on my attitude. You never know what will open up when you’re willing to take the risk.
The beauty of any of these five points is that you can use them for your spouse or anyone important to your heart. Don’t shield your care and affection. We’re a longing culture desperately in need of each other. What will you be doing today?