Parenting

More than our Presents

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More than our presents, our kids need our presence. They want, and need, us. IN their lives. It’s the greatest gift we can give, to them…and to ourselves.

 

Photo Credit: A Christmas Gift Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures

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Home Alone

If stacking up gifts under the tree means racking up debt that will consign us to overtime labor in the coming year, it’s not worth it. Deep down, our kids don’t want to be home alone with things while we slave away at the office just to pay it all off.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: House, Home, Structure – Free Image on Pixabay – 2595330

Our Greatest Opportunity

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If in pursuit of making our kids happy we rob them of our presence in their lives, we’ve missed our greatest opportunity. What they need is relationship—not with a screen, a gadget, or a piece of plastic, but with the people most important in their lives.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Christmas, Star, Winter, Family – Free Image on …

What our Kids Really Need

Postcard   new  year   clock‘Tis the season when kids make their lists and we check them twice, determined to please the ones we love with that perfect gift. But before we gear up for another trip to the shopping mall, let’s take the time to stop. Breathe. Put those lists down. And consider.

What is it our kids truly need?

Written between the lines of holiday wants lies something deeper. Something more costly than anything our imaginations can conjure up. Something that can’t be bought at the mall.

My friend once lamented that she got a second job so she could get her kids all they needed, only to find they needed something more. Her hours of labor provided for material things while robbing her family of precious time together. She was slowly losing her kids to technology, and eventually to gangs, drugs, and more. Looking back, her greatest regret was missing out on her kids’ lives for the sake of getting them more stuff.

As we think of the kids in our lives, most everyone would agree one of our greatest endeavors is to make them happy. It’s at this juncture that we stand to lose the very thing we venture to gain. If in pursuit of making our kids happy we rob them of our presence in their lives, we’ve missed our greatest opportunity. What they need is relationship—not with a screen, a gadget, or a piece of plastic, but with the people most important in their lives.

If stacking up gifts under the tree means racking up credit card debt that will consign us to overtime labor in the coming year, it’s not worth it. Deep down, our kids don’t want to be home alone with things while we slave away at the office just to pay it all off. More than our presents, they need our presence. They want, and need, us. IN their lives. It’s the greatest gift we can give, to them…and to ourselves.

These Thorns

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Answered prayers are most often wrought in pain and tears.

Source: The Thorns of Motherhood

Photo Credit: Free stock photo: Thorns, Spur, Close, Thorn – Free Image on …

Important Things: A Tribute

Blog_KidHoldingFlowersI’ve heard horror stories of families broken up over material possessions when it came time for their parents to move on and let go of their stuff. Sibling relationships, irreparably damaged, because they could not agree upon who should get what thing. Once treasured bonds permanently broken on account of greed and selfishness.

My parents recently moved from their home to a small apartment. In the process, they released many things that had been in the family for years. Over the weeks following, my sisters and I worked together to sort through furniture, décor, and other items. We donated many things to charity, sold others at a garage sale, and kept the most treasured things among ourselves. I can say with gratitude that not once did we fight over who should get what. And that says a lot about my parents.

DSCN7538_2055The most sentimental of items were a decorative plate with the phrase “love is the little things you do” etched beneath a picture of a girl passing a flower to her sister, and a plastic bowl with a picture of a mama bunny tucking her baby bunny in bed. These treasures symbolize what I most value about my mom. They remind me of those things in her character I want to emulate.

My mom has always been quiet and gentle. When I was little, my favorite thing was cuddling in her lap and listening to her heartbeat. She’s a person who loves deeply, and it’s always been evident in her actions. Kind words, thoughtful gifts, and tender hugs have always been her way of communicating her love to us. She’s always been selfless and generous, and she’s passed that on to us.

DSCN7541_2056Among the many things I’ve learned from my mom is that life is not measured in the amount of things we possess, but in the degree of love we offer. Her life has been an offering to us. That’s why a simple piece of art depicting true love and a little bowl representing the nurturing heart of a mother so accurately represent who my mom is. Love is the little things you do. It’s the only worthy investment. It’s the only thing that will outlast us. And it will outlive every earthly possession.

P.S. Mom, if you’re reading this…I hope there aren’t any typos because good “grammer” is something else you passed down to us.

Photo Credit: Hand, Giving – Free images on Pixabay

The Thorns of Motherhood

Blog_ThornsAndRoseFor many years I prayed for the gift of motherhood. Yes, my prayers were answered in due season. Abundantly answered. And I think God is laughing about it.

You see, he knew, way back when I was on my knees, that there would be a time when I’d be too tired to get on my knees after a day of chasing my super-active children. He knew that with my answered prayers would come piles of diapers and dishes and diapers and laundry, and did I mention diapers? And he knew that the journal I used to pour out my prayers would become home to haphazard scribble marks penned by the very ones I prayed into my family.

It’s possible his heart was heavy, too. He knew that once the waiting ended and prayers were answered on one end, a new season of waiting and praying would begin. He knew that with my children would come countless trips to the hospital and multiple therapy appointments. He knew I’d be up nights in the emergency room begging for a miracle when no medicine and no doctor could cure my son.

And he knew I’d be up reading the latest headlines, grieving that my preciously innocent and peaceful children have to grow up in such a hostile world. He knew I’d have to release them again and again into his hands, entrusting to him what he entrusted to me. He knew I’d have to believe against all odds that they have a future and a hope in this war-torn world.

Motherhood is a gift. And yet it bears thorns. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was told a sword would pierce through her own soul. Her own precious child would bear the sins of the world, carry them to the cross, and die that we could be free.

Something about the years of praying and waiting has made me all the more grateful for being a mother. I see the beauty, and yet I also feel the thorns. And these thorns help me to treasure my gift that much more deeply, knowing my answered prayers were wrought in pain and tears.

 

Photo Credit: Red rose among the thorns | Flickr – Photo Sharing!