An older mom, whose kids were the age of mine now, shared a GOLDEN NUGGET with me when my second son was starting middle school. It changed the course of my parenting and is something I have had to put in practice, albeit not-so-perfectly, especially now as my kids are mostly grown.
(The content below is based on real-life experiences. The stories may have been altered slightly and names have been removed to protect the innocent.)
- Toddler only wants to talk about, read about, watch videos about, wear jammies with and sit on tractors, especially blue ones.
- Five-year old wants to wear his Batman costume seven days a week, 24 hours a day. This obsession continues for four more years.
- Preteen asks for bassoon lessons. What even is a bassoon?
- Teenager flits from photography to guitar to lacrosse to modelling to penny-collecting to painting body for football games to Ford Mustang convertibles all within a couple of years.
- College daughter announces plans to move 2,764 miles away to pursue career in Studio City, California right after she graduates.
LOVE WHAT THEY LOVE.
- Eight-year-old’s best friend is known as the “behavior problem” in third grade. You have heard from “reputable sources” that the parents have been in trouble with the law.
- Sixth-grade son announces he has a girlfriend, the most popular girl in 7th grade (and who you heard is one of the “mean” ones).
- Junior in high school casually mentions at the dinner table that she’s dating a boy from work who dropped out of college.
- College son springs the surprise at Christmas that he is “in love” with a 33-year-old. You stalk her Instagram and she’s covered in tattoos and sports a lip ring.
- Twenty-something daughter texts you that she is moving in with her Atheist boyfriend in a few weeks and they plan to get married in Mexico next summer.
LOVE WHO THEY LOVE.
END OF STORY.
I’ve shared this nugget with my kids over and over and over and made this promise to them on countless occasions. I asked my son tonight what he thinks about it as we were having a pretty-heated discussion about my parenting (flaws and all). “Mom,” he said, “I feel like I never have to pretend, hide or worry about being someone that I’m not. I have permission to be exactly who I am. I know you love me no matter what.”
My heart skipped a beat as a tear trickled down my cheek. Yes, my child, I want you to be exactly who God made you to be and I will love what you love, and I promise, whether it’s easy or hard, to love whoever you love. I want to give you the gift that God has given to me. END OF STORY.
“Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.” (Ephesians 5:2)