Welcome back! I look forward to sharing Part Two with you!
What are my top three priorities in this season of life?
2. Our children
I am incredibly blessed to have seven charges to love and care for. They are each their own unique blessing in my life. The bring with them their own personality and God-given heart which is expressed in all that they do. All have hearts that were designed for love but each of them actively shows us how differently love can be expressed. They are all beautiful and amazing.
I would like to say that loving our children is easy and, in many ways it is. Beyond the natural instinct I hold to love those who need to be loved, I see love as a deliberate choice that is made each and every day – that even if it gets hard to love them through their behavior and choices that I will do so anyway with a heart to meet each of them where they are at. It is what a love that gives is about. However, there is the part where you need to love them through their challenges in a deliberate way too. This occasionally requires significant effort and there are days where you simply have to draw deep to find what you need to do it.
There are a few key secrets that I will share with you today as to how I choose to love our children. I write them as a reminder to myself to keep my focus on these tools as we work through our current circumstances. The three main ones that I will touch on today are role modeling & relationship, fun & joy, and being there to encourage.
Role Modeling & Relationship
We know that children often learn behaviors from what they see lived out in others more often than from what they are told. It is important that we as parents role model what it is like to overcome challenges. It is also important to find opportunities to share age-appropriate challenges with our children and to let them see how you as an individual or as a partnership work together to overcome them.
A significant part of this is the issue of ‘relationship’. It is important in relationship with your partner that you work as a team. When things become stressful it is very important to demonstrate love and support of your spouse rather than exhibiting behaviors that are divisive and argumentative. What your children will learn from healthy negotiation through challenges will give them skills for life. These are not just in their own future intimate relationships but also in their current relationships with their siblings and peers, as well as for when they enter the workforce.
Fun & Joy
You can’t control what life serves you or how it is served. Life can throw some serious cow excrement at you. It is true, and there are times when you just feel you have gotten a handle on one thing and the next load gets dumped on your doorstep. What you can control is how you respond to it.
Choosing to find joy in spite of challenges is about teaching ourselves, and those who observe us, to enjoy the journey of life. None of us are exempt from challenges but it makes a difference when we choose a path that allows us to find a positive perspective, which allows us to find a path to overcome those challenges. The sweet taste of finding a best possible outcome for a problem and being able to make it happen is something I want our children to have a taste for, as it is a skill for life.
Being there to encourage
Sometimes children carry doubts. They doubt their strength, they doubt their courage, they doubt their abilities, or capability to learn, and, perhaps hardest of all, they doubt their own perception of who they are. It is a mystery as to how these are seeded because we work our hardest to be our children’s greatest encouragers.
Being a great encourager in your child’s life starts with simply being there. Investing quality time with each child creates comfort and security. It is a chance for them to know they are loved and that they will be heard without judgement. The follow on is to actively live that expectation out, to love them where they are at. The task then is to help them scaffold new life skills onto the healthy ones they have already built and then, carefully, challenge the unhealthy ones they have learned from less appropriate role modelling.
All in all, parenting is a tough gig. However, the effort is so very worth it so we can see a child grow into an adult who doesn’t just survive in society, but, rather thrives in it. This is our goal for our children.
If you are with me in making your children a priority in your life then you might be interested in following us on Pintrest. Have a look now at our board ‘Loving our Children‘ to decide for yourself.