I read another blog post this morning with advice to younger moms. And while I agreed with it, I can't help but wonder why we think we need to pass on things to people who are not asking for them. Is it arrogant to think we have mastered something enough to tell others how to do it? Or is it really just a blessing to people? Will it give them hope or make them feel like a failure?
Often I think I have things to pass along, but I usually stop myself. Will others roll their eyes and skip over it? Will they wonder why I feel like I'm better/further along/more qualified to tell them something--something they already know and think it just plain common sense?
Obviously, I think about this too much!
Anyway, the last few weeks I've been doing this random thing with Hope that seems to be working. It's not original--I'm sure I read it somewhere and didn't come up with it on my own, and you may already know it as well. Maybe you've written a blog on the best way to do it and it went viral. Maybe you taught a class to middle school parents and told everybody how to do it. Who knows?
Before I tell you what it is, let me give you a bit of background (how's that to keep you in suspense--and don't skip the next paragraph to get to the bottom and see if it was worth your time to read the paragraph before it--not that I've ever done that...).
I love my girls. When I am away from them, I seem to love them more than my actions and tone of voice show when I am with them. It's a struggle I've had since they were little and I would be so ready to put them to bed, but after an hour of solitude, I'd sneak in their room and look at them sleeping. Somehow, I tend to react to them when we are together instead of responding. I take things personally. I lose my patience. I yell. I ignore. I say snarky things.
But, as I think about them when we are apart, I regret that I wasn't kinder. Or more loving. Or compassionate and empathetic. Or engaged in what they were saying. So I make plans to change that the next time I see them. Sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate. And, of course, I pray and ask God to work through me and push me aside.
In that moment that I am thinking about her, I've started texting Hope. I apologize so much that I decided not to make the text about that. I tell her I love her. Or that she's beautiful. Or that she's a daughter of the King. Or that she's amazing. Simple little words that elicit a response @ 50% of the time. But I don't do it for the response. In fact, I kinda like when she doesn't respond because I know that it moves her and she doesn't have words or emojis to explain herself.
Maybe all it does is ease my guilt and give me a "paper trail" for when she's in counseling years from now. But, as I send the text, I pray that my actions show her that I truly mean what I just wrote. And I pray that it gets down deep into her soul and she believes it. And, selfishly, I pray that it serves as a bridge in our relationship that will only get trickier as she enters these teenage years.
It's not 32 things to do or the best thing I ever did, but it's working in my house. It may not in yours. Feel free to try it if you think it will.
What 1 thing has worked for you in restoring/building up your relationship with your pre-teen/teen child?