When my daughter entered the tween years, I panicked a bit. I’d just barely started to feel more confident in my parenting and now we were entering uncharted waters. While praying for guidance, it struck me that I had a great example to follow in my own mother. So, I spent some time identifying some of the key things that she did to maintain our relationship though my angst-filled tween years.
Coffee with Mom
Every morning found Mom at the kitchen table with her coffee and her Bible. She kept the coffee that I preferred on hand, and invited me to join her at the kitchen table after waking up in the morning. Sometimes we had deep, serious conversations, and sometimes we just chatted over the latest copy of a recipe magazine. If she had come across a particular scripture in her morning devotions, then she’d show it to me, but she resisted the temptation to turn our morning coffee time into just another series of sermons. Life has gotten busy for me, but this is something that I want to practice more with my own daughter.
Talk, but Listen Too
As much as I’m described as a quiet person, I can go on and on about a topic of interest to me. It is so much harder for me to listen to someone talk about something that I find incredibly boring. I’m positive that there were plenty of times when my topic of choice was the last thing in the world that Mom was interested in, but she bit her tongue and listened. She didn’t tell me that my ideas were stupid, or act disinterested. I have to actively work at this, but it is so important for me to listen to my kids and not monopolize our conversation time. Even if it means biting my own tongue now and again!
Along for the Ride
Moms run lots of errands, and mine was no exception. Just about every time she got in the car though, she took at least one of us with her. I know that it sounds ridiculously simple, but it was a great way for us to spend time together. Car rides seem to be made for conversation, and we had a lot of good ones over the years. At times, we turned on the radio instead. Neither of us could sing on key, but we still had fun singing together! As nice as a quiet car ride sounds, it’s worth exchanging the quiet for some quality time.
Offer Hugs, but Don’t Push
I went through a phase where I would barely tolerate Mom’s hugs. I certainly was not about to hug her back! Now I realize how much that must have hurt her, but she never let on or made me feel guilty. She still hugged me, still told me that she loved me, but never forced the issue when I didn’t reciprocate. I don’t know if this is something I’ll encounter with one or all of my kids. If I do, I’ll take my cue from Mom and patiently let them know that they are loved, while waiting for them to respond in their own time.
Pray Without Ceasing
Ultimately, we don’t have as much control over how our kids’ lives turn out as we’d like to think we do. After we’ve done everything that we can, we can keep praying! I know that Mom prayed for me daily, and I had no idea as a young person how much I’d come to appreciate that later.
I know that I didn’t always make it easy for Mom, but I’m so grateful that she put so much time and effort into our relationship. Now, it’s up to me to do the same with my kids.