What happens when we date our son (or daughter)
This past week I experienced one of my most precious moments with my son, Cal. Cal is almost ten and I can barely stand the thought. It feels like he was born yesterday and yet he is entering into double digits. Whoever originally penned the wisdom, "The days are long but the years are short" is a genius, and in my book, deserves some kind of important award.
Anyhow, as I mentioned in my last post, we decided to make this the summer of slowing down and it has indeed been our most wonderful summer yet. Now, I'm willing to admit that just maybe it's been our best summer yet because everyone can now make their own breakfast which means I get to sleep in. But I want to believe it's been our best summer because we've slowed down and enjoyed each other more than I usually allow.
Now, if you're a mom with kids still at home you are well aware that a new school year is just around the corner. And as I've contemplated the things I want to be sure we still do before they go back, it hit me that I've failed to get any real alone time with any of the boys.
So back to why I wanted to write this post to you……
In my book Parenting the Wholehearted Child, in Chapter 13 where I explore how parents can foster and cultivate the virtue of KINDNESS in their kids, I write about the importance of having fun together as a family. Here is a little piece of it:
One wonderful way we can model the virtue of KINDNESS and inspire it between our children is by having fun together as a family. It may sound trite, but extensive research reveals that a strong sibling relationship results from conflict being balanced with time spent enjoying each other and having fun together as a family.
Mom and Dad, enjoy your children! Spend quality time with them and tell them how much you enjoy their company. When we enjoy our children, we teach them that they are indeed enjoyable. This is yet another way we can reflect God’s heart toward them—by reminding them how much God enjoys them and delights in their company.
If you have more than one child, find ways to squeeze in pre- cious moments with each of them individually. Individual time is a tremendous gift we can give our children. Take your children on dates, doing the things that they enjoy doing. Even if the time you have is brief or simple, it will be something your child and you will cherish and remember.
You can turn even the most mundane times into special dates, even if it’s just a macaroni-and-cheese lunch date at the kitchen table. This is what Brennan and I do on most days while Cal is at school and Owen is napping, and I make sure Brennan knows how much I enjoy this special one- on-one time with him (even on a day when all I can think about are the forty-seven other things I “should” be doing). Or I pick up Owen from preschool and I ask him where he’d like to take me on a lunch date. The pride that fills his face as he contemplates the special place he will take Mommy for lunch is priceless.
So I took my own advice, and I started with Cal (shout out to my amazing friend Alex who entertained Brennan and Owen for the day!) I found an adventure park just north of us. Here are a few photos from the amazing day.
On the first obstacle Cal turned to me and whispered, "Mom, my legs are shaking." By the third obstacle Cal turned to me and declared, "Mom, I can feel my courage increasing!"
To spend hours alone in nature with this guy who is learning how brave he really is was a priceless gift.
He shared things with me he wouldn't have shared if his brothers had been around.
He held my hand and put his head on my shoulder in ways he wouldn't have done in our normal routine.
And he allowed me to speak some hard truth in love into his life in ways he wouldn't have done during our usual bedtime routine.
So I feel the need to say it again, if for no other reason than to remind myself…..
Now, if you've ever read any of my other posts, you are well aware of my weaknesses and all of the ways I can get focused on the wrong things and fail to make my kids feel enjoyable. And you know how thankful I am for the radical grace that covers each one of those moments, and the forgiveness from my children and Jesus that flows so freely.
I'm really thankful for these precious moments with my children where God allows me to reflect just a tiny piece of His heart for them as they experience my deep delight in them. Because in these moments we can remind our children that as much as we delight in them and enjoy spending time with them, so does Jesus, but extravagantly more.