Hold Them Tight

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About five years ago as I was with a friend talking about the joys and challenges of life and parenting, when she said, “I think it’s even more important we’re available for our children during their teen years than their toddler years.”

Her comment intrigued me, so much so I’ve thought of it numerous time ever since. Back then I was the mom who couldn’t wait to get my kids off to school full time so that I could be “home-free”. As much as I love my kids, there was still a part of my heart that saw them as slowing me down from success (insert sigh).

I couldn’t be more thankful for my friend's words. They didn’t just intrigue, they inspired me to become the mom I didn’t know my children were going to need me to be.

 

Rhythms of love

My oldest is 13 years old. I am in awe with this little girl I still see and the woman she is coming to be. As her mom, I am committed to being her greatest cheerleader, mentor and friend in life. It truly is a privilege to help her navigate and discover this big, beautiful, unknown and sometimes unkind world of friendship, social media, pressures, performance, love and grace.

How? To be totally honest, some days I’m not too sure. But every day we partake in rhythms that keep us rooted in love. These rhythms help us hold our daughters tight, especially on those really hard days when you just don’t know what the right choice is.

 

 healthy routine

Four out of five mornings we sit down and eat breakfast together. We want to start our day well and for us that means gathering together around the table. Some days we talk casually, other days we talk about scripture.

These conversations are only 10 minutes long, but harness the power to completely impact their day and their future in profound ways. We've discovered that as we talk with our kids about their 'everyday' stuff, we're also creating a safety zone for them to come to us with their 'big' stuff.

 

Pray together

I don’t know if there is any one thing that has influenced our family and personal life more than prayer. Prayer has a way of surrendering control and confusion by releasing life’s circumstance to the God who created us and knows us more intimately than we know ourselves.

As we place our trust, dependency and confidence in God, it changes how we carry burdens in life. When our kids see us seek God in our struggles it shows them that they don’t need to know all the answers or figure it out. Their heart, compassion and values also expand as we pray for the needs of other people.  

 

What do you think?

We always ask, "What do you think?" We want our children to think things through before we tell them what to do. Often they already know the right answer, they just want confirmation that they’re on the right track. If their solution isn’t the same one I would’ve chosen but it’s within reason, I applaud their idea and let it be.

If they’re way off, I slowly say, “That could be a possibility. What else do you think it could be?” I’m still applauding their effort, while opening the door for something more. 

We want to raise great decision makers. We want to provide a space of love and safety for them to exercise their voice. These years at home are training grounds to empower decisions later when we’re not always around.  

 

hugs, love and grace

We hug them and tell them how much they are loved every single day. It’s a tradition we’ve built as a family since the beginning of time; before anyone leaves the house we hug them and tell them we love them. We all need to know know we’re loved and valued, every day. 

Kids want to do well for those they know love them. I believe this to true even for our teens. Consider your greatest leader or mentor.  Wasn’t there a part of you that just wanted to do your best for them? Our kids are the same. When they know they can share whatever struggles they face and they’ll be met with love, grace and acceptance, we’ve just opened the door to being the one they can come to with anything.

As our kids get older, we need to hold them tight. We do that as we show them love by giving them our time and encouraging them with words that build them up, even when they make mistakes.

In faith and love! 

Kristine

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