This past weekend we watched my sister-in-law graduate from High School. My husband was 15 years old when his little sister was born, and one of the things that attracted me to my man early on was how gentle he was with his baby sister. I can still picture a teenage young man with a little lady on his shoulders. I remember thinking what teenage boy does that?
I remember walking around a little lake with a 5 year old girl, watching geese and throwing rocks into the water. I remember playing games with this young lady as she grew older, and watching as she started her homeschooling journey.
Last year my own niece graduated from High School, and she was also home schooled her entire school career. Shortly after I got married my sister and her family moved away to Alaska for three years. In those three short years my niece and nephew grew up, and the little kids they were when they left were gone. Now my niece is working and stretching her wings.
Both of these lovely young ladies were in my wedding, They both seemed so young at that time 8 years ago.
Friday as I sat holding my feisty 3 year old in my lap, I cried as I considered how quickly time passes. I am already amazed when I look at my oldest daughter and imagine what life will be in a few short years. It won’t be that long before my own children are graduating from school and moving on to different places in their lives.
I have no way of knowing what the intervening years will hold, but I can be pretty sure that if I do not pay attention I will miss out on a lot. I could miss out on conversations like I was able to have with my oldest girls just last night. I don’t even know how the conversations started, but I am glad I made the point of pursuing a few small statements that my daughters made. It opened the door for me to discuss what it means to be saved, and how important it is for us even after we have accepted the gift of salvation to keep praying and confessing our sins.
My children are keenly aware of my sinful habits, yet I have also tried to make a habit of confessing those sins publicly to my kids, and asking them to forgive me when I have sinned against them. It is not easy to be so open and vulnerable to my children, but it is opening doors. I am able to use my own failures as examples to teach my children what to do when they have sinned.
My oldest made a comment that she felt like she had prayed to Jesus to clean her heart but it didn’t work. So we were able to talk about my own struggles and that confessing our sins is a process that doesn’t end until we are made new in heaven.
I was reminded this weekend that these days are short. My children won’t always be as willing to share their hearts with me. I pray that our home will always be a safe place for my children to share themselves with me and their daddy. Yet sometimes the very nature of being the parent disqualifies you from being chosen as the confidante. Part of being a parent means teaching our children to spread their wings and fly the skies that God has for them. We can’t keep them snug at home with us no matter how hard we might want to.
If you are a parent don’t forget that God has given you these children for a short time. If you are in the trenches like me I know it can seem like these days will never end. But we all know they will. Find ways to be intentional in the lives of your kids today. That will look differently for each of us, but just keep looking.
- It may mean putting down your phone during a quiet evening at home so that you can be more open and inviting for your children to come speak to you.
- It may mean inviting your children into the kitchen to prepare a meal. Sometimes working together can really invite conversation.
- It may mean taking one child out on a date so that you can get focused time together.
What are some ways that you can be intentional with your children today?