“Mom, is that wrong?”
I weigh her question heavily on my heart, knowing full well that my answer will be her truth.
I think through exactly what I want to instill in her perspective, her vision of this new concept that revealed itself right before her innocent eyes.
In this moment, and countless others, she has come to me inquiring of things that the world produces and people portray with both confusion and a desperate ache for answers that beckons my guiding words…
She’s at that age.
The fragile age where awareness opens all the blinding shades to her comfortable limited view. Windows are opening to the world and revealing new sites every day. She struggles to understand each scene, and comes to me for help in doing so.
My parenting role has shifted into a more profound position, as I am called to explain and examine what goes on beyond her boundaries. I am astounded at this profound realization of such a responsibility. Am I equipped to carry this new motherhood mission out? It is up to me to paint her canvas of the world, using our color scheme, drawing images to form a clear picture of how to interpret the expanding landscape she sees. Her growing peripheral vision has added many new views, and she looks to me to decipher them.
She’s old enough to have a sense about it all, yet still naïve enough to honestly grapple with new-forming ideas and choices that are made despite her not living in the same condition. She yearns for understanding and seeks my answers as she wanders through the halls of inexperience, peeking into rooms where doors have opened, illuminating new complex issues. As she peers into each one, she immediately comes to me, unable to create an opinion because she has no reference point to gauge it.
I am sculpting her moral compass as we walk together down those corridors of awareness. It’s the hardest path to escort her through…
And I pray I get it right.
Sometimes, she will hand me such difficult situations- so sweetly opening up her young innocent hands with a desperate need for me to take it and make it better, manageable, acceptable… right.
And I can’t.
I know in my innermost being, that it is wrong. It is and always will be wrong to me. But more important than right or wrong, or good or bad will always be what covers all those claims.
I want my growing girl to have an open heart to go with those maturing open eyes. I desperately hope that above all else, she will look at this world and every single soul in it, with unconditional, unequivocal grace. When she disagrees with choices, perhaps is disgusted with views, or even insulted with behaviors people display… I want her to always respond with respect.
“Well honey, I believe it is wrong. But everyone makes their own decisions for their own reasons… So although I don’t agree with what they are doing, I will still honor and respect them as we should.”
As I delicately shape a new piece of her heart, I am intentional about where I place my opinions, and deliberate about how I explain them all. I will plant these seeds into the ground of our faith and apply Biblical virtues drenched in the merciful message of Christ. For my greatest goal in parenting this child while she discovers new territories through aging turns is to cultivate a spirit of gracious love.
I’m guessing that later in her years, she will surely decide on her own, what is right to her or wrong. She will be able to have a deeper understanding and construct a clearer more personal explanation for every opinion she owns. That’s how it should be.
But oh, how I pray that every stance she takes is always carefully wrapped in respect, love, and grace, because Lord knows…
She will need it too.
wise wise advise!! Always love and respect. That’s what I try to make the bigger point too. Everyone follows their own path, makes their own journey in this life. It’s not up to us to direct their steps, we can only pray that some higher guidance may influence them. but they certainly won’t seek that guidance if we look at them with disgust. The should always see love reflected – His love – in our eyes first.
YES! —> “The should always see love reflected – His love – in our eyes first.” That is always my goal, and my hope and prayer for my kids! You said it perfectly, my friend. 🙂
Janine Huldie says
Aw, beautiful Chris and have no doubt that with you as a mom your daughter will end up being a fine, young woman in the future. Hugs and you totally got this!!
Thank you so much Janine!! I feel the SAME way about you with your girls!! XO
Having an impact on your kids at that age, and knowing the right thing to say can be difficult. I often resented my parents for a lot of the decisions they made for me then, and a lot of the reasons they gave me and things they tried to teach me.
When I was old enough, I rebelled and made a lot of bad decisions. Some were my fault, some ended up being the influence of my mental illness. But when I started to realize and tried to navigate back to the right path, it was the things my parents taught me, the decisions they made in my youth that brought me back (and the same situation for my siblings).
While there are many things I will do differently than what my parents did with us, there are many now that I find myself agreeing with and wanting to follow. If you build your kids up with that solid foundation, even if there is a period where they think they know better and wander away, it will serve as an anchor to reel them back in.
What an honest and insightful reflection, Tabitha. I especially love this –> “If you build your kids up with that solid foundation, even if there is a period where they think they know better and wander away, it will serve as an anchor to reel them back in.” You will surely be an amazing parent someday, my friend!
This is just beautiful. I love how you instill honor and respect in your children, even as they learn about the wrongs of the world. It takes time and thought and care to teach and show kids how to live the life we are given.
Thank you my friend. It’s not easy, but I am always mindful of God’s Grace in it all. I believe that is God’s greatest message for us to share with our kids. <3
I LOVE this! This is one of those articles that hits very close to home because I am going through the very same phase with my son.
Oh Gina, it’s hard isn’t it? I’m so glad you read this and it resonated with you! XO
From what little I’ve come to know about your sweet daughter – I doubt you have much to worry about. But worry you will:)! Beautiful writing – as always.
Thank you SO much for your confidence in me and my girl, Allie! Your support means the WORLD to me. 🙂
I learned a lot about you in a short time the other day and I have no doubt you are doing a fantastic job and will guide her well.
Aw! Scott, I feel just sooo blessed and grateful that we had that time together to laugh and goof around (Mainly me, I know. lol) and have some really great conversations too. You are an amazing man. I have the same confidence in YOU with your boys!
Kelly L McKenzie says
What really leaped out at me was the fact that she comes to you with her questions. That is wonderful. Great job, Mama.
Thanks so much Kelly! We have a really tight bond and trusting relationship. I hope and pray that continues through her teen years!!
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
So beautiful. Parenting is such a huge responsibility. I thank the Lord that I have Him to lean into when I’m perplexed. It seems like every year there’s a new challenge, responsibility, or hurdle.
I love the way you answered Christine. Our children need to know above anything else that LOVE is #1 on our agenda… this is how they will see our saviour reflected in us.
Blessings to you my friend.
Exactly Jennifer! “This is how they will see our Savior reflected in us.” <— Part of our daily prayer I pray for my kids in the car on the way to school: "Lord shine your light in them, through them, and around them, so that others will see YOU in them."
I wish that my kids will stay trusting when it comes to things that they are worried/thinking about and approach me even until they get older. The 1o year old already has questions that leaves me perplexed! Also praying that I get this right! 🙂
Yeah… my nine year old has caught me off guard and hurdled me into harder questions than my daughter! He’s incredibly bright and curious. Two things that surely have opened his world a lot sooner than I planned. Ack!
Beautiful sister! Cassidy is sure already a gracious, loving, and tender soul. The two of you will navigate life beautifully together! God will see her through her own twists and turns, failures and successes, pain and joy, but you have laid the foundation already for her to know that in Him she will have her strength and value and see it in others. With that armour, she will always be protected and serve as a light in this world. XOXO
OH sister… that is my daily prayer. And I’m certain it is for you too with your precious Kelsey!!! We are such blessed mamas, aren’t we? A Divine calling we have… but oh the light we see shining in our girls makes it all the easier to manage. 🙂
Julie Jo Severson says
“. . . knowing full well that my answer will be her truth.” Wow. You’ve done a beautiful job as mother right there. The fact that your daughter, even now at her age, sees your answers as truth, is incredible. I feel as though my kids stopped viewing my answers as truth long ago, like when they were 5. At least that’s the way it feels with my 2nd and 3rd kid. My firstborn, now 14, held onto my words a little longer and seems to be watching me very closely as she figures out her identity and opinion on things. Oy! Yes, you nailed it on the head with “I pray I get it right.” I think about what you have written here all the time. Thanks for writing it out so clearly.
Oh Julie- thank you for your beautiful comment, my friend. I will keep praying I get it right! It’s incredibly difficult, yes? And oh how blessed I am that my girl still comes to me. I hate to think of the day when she doesn’t.
Aw… I remember so well when she was about to start sixth grade. She is SO supported and held up and loved. Scarlet has first grade classmates that already have swagger. At 6! And I just pray that Scarlet will stay young and innocent, and then grow nerdy and awkward just like her parents. Ha! As long as she’s herself and she’s happy.
Cass is a few steps ahead of Scarlet- and she is STILL innocent and nerdy and awkward just as she SHOULD be!! I know your girl will be the same… We’ve got great girls. 🙂
Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says
So true! It is , sometimes, a fine line between teaching them what we feel is right and teaching them to respect others even when we disagree. I’m sure you are dong a wonderful job!
Eh… I hope so! Each question is a challenge, yes? I’m sure YOU are doing a wonderful job too, my friend. <3
“It is up to me to paint her canvas of the world, using our color scheme…”
Mine’s at that age too. That questioning, seeking age that forces us moms to ramble a quest prayer for the right words, the right heart when saying the right words. It all happens in a split second, but the words and our heart remains imprinted on these kids for a lifetime.
Which is why you — and she — will do just fine.
OH Rochelle… I love that we are in this stage of life and mothering together, my friend. I truly know in my heart that YOU and SHE will do just fine too. Your daughter is an incredible soul… just like you. <3
CC – beautifully written, and a beautiful sentiment. Isn’t this what we’ve prepared for as parents? Are we ready for it? Who is? All that we are and all we’ve done has to be enough in that moment. You follow your heart and you answer. And it’s not lost on us that our children turn to us for answers. Huge responsibility, yes, and there’s not a right or wrong answer, really. Just as always, our kids need simply our best, not our perfection.
She’s lucky to have a mama like you who recognizes the gravity of our changing jobs as parents!
You know what I love Eli? The fact that you have such a beautiful relationship with all your girls, that they come TO YOU. THAT is remarkable. And incredibly beautiful. Well done, dad. Well done. <3
I needed this tonight! I have hit a couple of road blocks with my 15 year old these last few weeks, I couldn’t be more proud of some of the choices she has made and relayed to me her thoughts knowing all to well I wouldn’t be thrilled about them but we worked through it together. I can’t make her not want to do something, I simple have to be there for her when maybe that choice didn’t go the direction she hoped and just be there for her.
This is a truly beautiful post and I thank you for sharing!
I’m so so glad this post was an encouragement to you! It sounds like you are doing beautiful things mama. <3 I love your perspective and it is so wonderful that you worked through those tough areas together. Being there for her is most important I think, is always something I want to be with my own daughter... Mistakes will be made, and bad choices too. I hope I can walk through those with my girl, like you have with yours. I'm sure it won't be easy. Hang in there!! <3
Wise words, my friend. Even when we differ in opinion with another, they will never hear what we have to say if we are not kind with our ways and words. xo
YES. Ultimately, everyone needs and deserves respect. We must value every single person as just that- a human being with their own feelings, needs, and beliefs. (However, there are exceptions to this rule- EVIL will never be respected or valued.)