Welcome back to the third week in our “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart” series. If you missed the first two weeks you can follow these links to get caught up. So far we have covered:
1. Be Informed
“Mom, will you please tell me a story?“ my eight-year-old daughter asked me recently. It had been one of those insanely packed days, full of errands, chores and activities… and it wasn’t over yet. My mind strained to keep everything in order for the remaining events we had planned for the evening. I was coordinating our homeless outreach followed by plans to attend my husband’s softball game. Kids had to be fed, pottied, properly clothed, and in the right places at the right times. I had to remember to bring supplies, snacks, drinks and driving directions to our various destinations. There was no brain reserve left for creative stories.
“I’m sorry, honey. I can’t tell you a story right now. I just have too much on my mind.”
“That’s okay,” she said. “I’ll tell you a story. Once upon a time,” she began, “there was a very busy mom.”
Uh oh. This ought to be interesting…
“She woke up every day and she was tired. She made a big pot of coffee and went into her room to pray. She prayed and prayed and prayed…but nothing happened. She did the laundry and went to Target and to the grocery store where she spent lots of money. She made dinner and cleaned the house. She went to help the homeless children. At the end of the day, she was still tired so she went to bed. The end.”
Wow. I’m like a twisted version of the Proverbs 31 woman, we are encouraged to be. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” I Thessalonians 4:11&12 (NIV)
Slowing down is important; it’s the only way we can be there for our children. When we are spending time with our children, it allows us to observe. Each one of our children are uniquely created. That may mean that one of your different children may be more vulnerable or open at a different time then their sibling.
For children really open up at night. Now this is a real problem for me. You see I have a disclaimer in my life that I cannot be held responsible for anything I say, hear or do after 9:00 p.m. I just am not coherent! Because of this problem, I try to make myself available to my kids when they get home from school. Ideally, I like to have a time when they come home where I have a snack and we chat for a few minutes about their day before they head into doing their home work.
Making plans with just one child, one on one, is another way to speak volumes to their value. It says, “I care enough about you to carve out time for you”. Try going out for a snack or a walk. I have one child who likes me to take her shopping and another who likes to hike. Different children; same message of value.
Think over your life and your schedule. How can you arrange things so that you can be available to your child to hear about their world, their heart and the things they are going through in their minds? Be available.
Next week, we’ll cover #4: be vulnerable.
If you have found this post helpful, forward it to another who might as well. If you would like to have the article “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart” in it’s entirity free of charge, just email me at Lynn@Proverbs31.org.
Do you have some ideas for some one on one times? Let’s share what works.