I read an article the other day about the Södra Älvsborg Rescue Service Association of Sweden. Firefighters are approaching people on the beach and snatching their cell phones! Why you may ask... The firefighters are trying to improve beach safety by redirecting the parent's attention from their cell phones to their children playing in the surf. I think it odd that complete strangers feel compelled to alert parents of the potential dangers of their children on the beach, but also to point out that parents are missing important memories.
Soon our children will be headed back to school; summer is almost over. Schedules, lunches, book bags and car pools will return as part of our weekday routines. I would like to encourage you to take your child on a special "date" before the summer is over. It doesn't matter how young or how old they are, but do something just the two of you. Plan some alone time to talk with them, asking questions about all kinds of things that are important to them...then listen.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Sometimes we become so preoccupied with activities and entertainment that we neglect quiet time providing opportunity for our children to share what concerns them, or ask questions about things they are curious about. Perhaps they are having trouble with a friend, feel anxious about the upcoming school year and their new teachers, or they might like to try a new sport. Our days are so full, and we believe that if we are not doing something, then we are wasting time, but a pause may allow our kids the chance to be heard.
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127 NIV
My husband and I have four sons. All are different, although similar in some ways. Two of our sons are great communicators. When something bothers them or they have a question, they crawl up on our bed as I am reading and "chat." They will give me a prompt or just lay there and look at me which signals me to ask what is on their mind. During these conversations I find out about girls, career or college ideas, poor decisions made by peers, etc. The other two sons are a bit more cryptic. I usually have to seek them out, and interrupt their activity to find out what is on their mind or play 20 questions to reveal the information I am seeking. While I try to be purposeful in communicating with all my boys, I really have to up my game for these two.
Communication was easier when my guys were little, dependent on me for transportation and sources of entertainment. I would plan "Mom-dates" which sometimes were a special event or activity, but usually it was just a time for me to spend purposeful time with one of my guys. One afternoon my son and I spent a few hours looking at RV's, sounds odd, I know. We drove up to the lot, I got permission from the sales agent on duty, explaining my son and I just wanted to look. He smiled and left us alone. For the next hour or so, we went into the different models, sat at the tables, looked in the little refrigerators, etc. and imagined where we would go if we had this particular model and wondering if "daddy would like this one." We laughed, dreamed and made a memory.
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom...Then he [Jesus] went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:41-52 NIV
Mary didn't have the ability to video record special memories with her eldest son. She savored memories in her heart. While we have the ability to digitally record precious moments with our children, let us not get so caught up behind the camera or phone that we do not participate. Put down the phones, turn off the TV, shut the laptop and play in the sand, kick around a soccer ball, go on a picnic, bike ride or hike, and purposefully listen to your child express their thoughts, ideas and dreams. While you have your child's attention, express your unconditional love and support, and communicate the LORD's great grace and mercy for them. Use this one-on-one time to tell them the things you like best about them. You will never have the same moment once it is gone.
Elohim, our Holy ABBA Father, You understand our hearts. On Your heavenly throne, high and lifted up, You speak to our hearts, sing over us and woo us into relationship with You. Help us to do the same for the precious children You have given to us. No one else knows the depth of our love for these children except You. May we carefully nurture their love for You, teaching them of Your perfect love and saving grace. Lead us to be the parents who encourage and listen as we guide our children to walk according to Your plans and purposes, not our own wants and desires. Adonai, help us learn to let go, so You may shape and grow these lives for Your glory. May we never stop praying, listening and encouraging these babies You are shaping into honorable men and virtuous women. Amen