From my teens down to my toddler, it is an absolute delight! As a momma learning to parent at each of the stages is, however, a continuing challenge. Over the years, the Lord has continued to reveal to me a few different truths that have really provided a framework for our parenting today. Enjoy!
1. Smile, smile, smile. Most of what we have to say as a parent can be conveyed with a smile on our face and not a frown. Easy to say, but sometimes hard to execute.
2. Be consistent. Often preached on, but remember kids don't care if you are tired.
3. A gentle response brings peace.
If our children are upset, we can help disarm them with our quiet tone.
4. Try not to let them know you are shocked or surprised. Sometimes kiddos like to be shocking. Responding calmly can prevent the 'fun' of trying that 'one" again on mom or dad.
5. Look for every opportunity to encourage them. Sometimes you will have to get creative, but take the time to do it. If we encourage them a lot more than we correct, our words of correction will be much more effective.
6. Hug a lot. This is easy to do when they are little, but remember when their shoulders are broad and they are a head taller than you, they still need lots and lots of love.
7. Dream with them and over them. Especially as your children grow, begin to purpose to have discussions in front of them about your hopes and dreams. Don't save all of these conversations for when they are in bed. These dreams are their inheritance and we want them to value all that they are receiving!
8. Be a human. I want my teens to know that I'm a person (It's okay if my 'littles' still think mommy is perfect:). Someone who has emotions and feelings. Someone who makes good decisions and bad (occasionally). I want them to have access to me in a much more intimate way as they mature. Any question is okay. I will answer what I think is appropriate:)
9. Laugh a lot. Laughter is like the world's best glue to hold every family relationship together. Laugh so hard you cry - often. Be silly with your spouse. Let your children see the joy you have in simply being together. Let's go GOOFY!
10. Worship together. On Sunday, at the dinner table, bedtime, and any other time in between. Let worship be a continual fragrance in your home. Pray for your kiddos while they sleep. Find a scripture that you can release over them. Write them notes so they can tangibly re-read what you have released over them. Let your kids favorite worship music crank in your home.
11. (Oops, I couldn't leave this one out to maintain the classic "10") Loving our kiddos when they make grand choices and poor ones set the stage for them to understand God's unrelinquishing love for them. His countenance is full of joy ALWAYS, even when I mess up! My mistakes don't make Him scared or afraid. As parents, let's remember this fact and hold it close to our hearts as we guide and direct our children. Let our parenting always be filled with His love.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it does a pretty good job of summing up my heart. Parenting is an absolute privilege.
Holy Spirit come and show us more and more and more. We want to do our job WELL! May our every word be a blessing that releases life into our homes. We are parents dependent upon your voice. Thank you for never leaving us or forsaking us. We love you!