I spent the early years of mothering focused on providing the best meals, organizing the playrooms, ensuring the best learning environments, and facilitating my big kids’ activities.  My concerns centred around obedience and discipline.  However, what I don’t think I did as well, was express my unequivocal, wildly passionate, and wholly devoted love to my children.

That’s hard for me to admit.

I was too busy teaching them.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore my children!  They are my heart walking around outside my body with arms and legs.

But, I fear that wasn’t the big kids’ overriding experience of me.

I’m still growing as a mom.  Likely, I’m still too attentive to the gaps in all three of my children’s development versus the glory of their being and becoming.  Even this morning, The Builder reminded me to relish in our little one’s happiness and not worry as much about her achievement.

I am learning that all a child needs to realize his or her potential is an experience of our unequivocal, wildly passionate, and wholly devoted acceptance.  It’s more important than having a clean kitchen, a well-behaved child, or advanced reading skills (even though I still want all those too).

My dad offers a good example.  As I watch his relationship with my son, who has cerebral palsy and a hearing impairment, I see what a whole-hearted connection looks like and how it is our responsibility to pursue the child with a pure affirmation and validation.

Cultivating Connections

 

The secret start begins with catching their eyes to collect them into our presence.

In my dad’s case, he always adds a HUGE bear hug!!  And, usually, he pops in a question or comments about an interest of whichever grandchild he’s building the connection.

From there, we bridge.  We focus on our relationship.  We bridge all bad behaviour, all difficulties, and any unavoidable separation.  It is simple.  The reassurances sound like, “I will always love you no matter what!” “We’ll get through this together.”  “You are mine and I am yours!” bridge by focusing on our connection and the next time we’ll be together.

Finally, we cultivate a village of attachments all around our children, people who will also believe in them.  Teachers, youth group sponsors, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  These supportive networks offer children protection for their hearts, as they face frustration, heartache, trauma, disability, and disappointment.

Faith Journey

In What’s So Amazing About Grace, we read a quote from Lewis Smedes, Professor of Psychology at Fuller Seminary describe his desire for God’s acceptance of him.  Smedes captures the child’s need and frankly our human need when he describes his own journey,

“What I felt most was a glob of unworthiness that I could not tie down to any concrete sins I was guilty of. What I needed more than pardon was a sense that God accepted me, owned me, held me, affirmed me, and would never let go of me even if he was not too impressed with what he had on his hands.”

Our human journey is rooted in our desire to be connected with one another and even with the God of the Universe.

Simple Elegance: Love

In our age of accelerations and incredible change, what must remain intense and pure is how we ‘hold onto our kids.’

Focusing on what matters most is simple and elegant.  The journeys of a child unfold when the child is rooted in our love.  It is our unequivocal, wildly passionate, and wholly devoted acceptance that offers them the opportunity to walk forward with confidence into the five most important journeys of a child.  Even now that two of my children are adults, I believe more than ever, never let go.

When have you experienced that kind of radical acceptance and love?  How will you show it to your child?

For the sake of the children,

Karine