I recently listened to a wise godly older mother give a presentation to adoptive and foster moms at our ministry staff conference. I appreciated Dottie McDowell’s (From Josh McDowell Ministries) advice to us younger moms and am sharing my notes with readers of this blog.
- Dream with your children. Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Even my small children have dreams. I want to engage with them in their imagination dreams, listen to their made-up stories and even try to make some of those little dreams come true.
- Model apologizing well. Proverbs 20:7 “The righteous who walks in his integrity- blessed are his children after him! Keeping my pride in check, admitting my wrongs, and asking for forgiveness is not only good for me but will reap dividends in their lives. It has been powerful to watch little children struggle to say “I’m sorry”, looking the one they have hurt in the eyes and asking for forgiveness is a real battle in their spirits. And if I am honest it is a battle in my spirit when I need to do the same thing with them or with a peer. This a battle we are commanded to fight in Ephesians 6:10-20. This is the way of Christ and I must make it a normal part of my days.
- It is of vital importance to have a good sense of humor. Proverbs 13:15 “Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.” Proverbs 31:25b “She laughs at the time to come.”Kids do funny things! Kids say funny things! Being able to let the kid in me shine out at appropriate times will do great things for my relationships with my children. The skill of being able to discern between fantasy and imagination and dishonesty or manipulation is vital here.
- Value the time you have. Psalms 37:5 “Commit your ways to the LORD, trust in Him, and he will Act.” Children spell love, T-I-M-E! Give them your time. If I am honest this one is often challenging for me as I don’t want to be my kids best friend, but want to be their mother. I want to raise independent children. I want them to learn to solve problems; problems of boredom, conflicts with siblings, etc. I see moms all around me that seem to make it their responsibility to entertain their children and because I don’t want to fall into that trap (and my own task/people personality) I have to be super intentional to play WITH my kids.
- Take genuine and authentic interest in what captivates your children’s heart. Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”Let me be very frank, with how much my children talk this can also be hard at times because it is not possible to care about everything they have to say! As a mother, I am student of my children, I want to know them inside and out, so being able to engage them in what captivates their heart at each season of their lives is not that hard but doing something with that knowledge takes time and intentionality.