The other day I realized I am not a member of the baby club anymore. Cribs and changing tables have moved out and I am – amazingly enough – already forgetting about blow-outs and waking 10 times a night. Suddenly teething, head bumps, and keeping them from bathing in the toilet seem like little sillinesses compared to the BIG issues the same kids deal with now.
Like fear, peer pressure, being and needing true friends, and all-out rebellion, to name a few.
As the years of kid raising progress, I’m finding the conversations we’re repeatedly having are in fact speaking to ME, from a different and more intimate perspective than ever before. And some seem like perhaps they’re more for me, than for them.
1. Don’t Be Afraid. Remember to measure your problem against your God. He will be with you, fight for you, and never – ever – leave you alone. Don’t let people, or circumstances scare or intimidate you. You have the Creator of this universe as your DADDY!!
2. Love the Unloveable. Those stinky, rude, mean kids? The ones who throw rocks and fits when you won’t do what they demand? The ones who talk about you behind your back or make faces at you? Those are the ones that especially need you to love them. That doesn’t mean you’re their best friend…but it does mean you do what’s best FOR THEM. You hug them anyway and speak kind truths to them. You NEVER talk bad behind their back. You always give them the dignity of being human – one made and LOVED by the same God who loves you, in all your stinky mess. You offer them hope…and who knows, maybe you’ll be the spark that lights their world.
3. Forgive and apologize quickly. People are good at hurting other people. It’s part of life. But don’t harbor bitterness or anger towards anyone. Be brave enough to forgive, and to apologize when you’ve done the hurting!! It will set you free. And free is very good place to be!
4. Don’t try to “protect” other people by not telling them the truth. Saying you like something when you really don’t…that’s a LIE. Saying you don’t care when you do…also a lie. Be honest. Be gentle…but be honest. It will make you a trustable person and people will know what you speak is REALLY what you mean. That’s called integrity. And that will make you a RICH person, whether you have money or not!
5. Write your grandma. She loves you. She doesn’t care if your letter isn’t perfect. She wants to know more about you and what makes you the special person she loves. Someday, you’ll be a grandparent too, and you’d love a hug in a letter.
6. Clean up after yourself. It just makes a whole lot of sense for everyone. You’ll be glad if you develop this habit! And so will your Mom! And your future spouse! And everyone else you invite to your space.
7. Be respectful. Remember who you are…And that you are always under authority. No matter how old, important, or successful you are…or think you are – you still need to be respectful!
8. Don’t take on other’s offenses/prejudices. You are responsible to love and do right by others, and you CANNOT help anyone by taking up their battle or judgments against someone else. You will simply cause destruction by participating in their dirty work. Instead, allow God to work in hearts and… you mind your own business! That will keep you busy enough!
9. Use the day wisely. God’s given it to you. Enjoy it, be creative, learn something new, work hard, rest, and take time to know the One who gifted you the day.
10. Listen to advice. Don’t be the fool who doesn’t care about what other people have learned. Be a diligent listener. You will gain wisdom, and that’s worth far more than gold!
11. PRAY a lot! Just talk to God. He already knows your thoughts before you speak them, so don’t be shy. Tell Him the deepest, darkest things you think about. Tell Him your worries, your fears, how that girl at school made you cry. Tell him what you’re happy about, the dreams you have, the puppy you want that your parents won’t get. Thank Him for everything, even the hard things. He wants to hear from you. He longs for your heart. Long for His!
12. Be a hard worker. You don’t have to be the best at anything, but you do need to DO YOUR BEST, whatever it is you have to do.
What conversations do you have with your kids? Are they getting it? Any that speak directly to your heart?