Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’


You Are More Than What They See

OK…I will get straight to the point.  Parenting is only a “role”, NOT who YOU are.  Do not lose yourself trying to help someone else discover who they are, even if they are your children.  This is easier said than done.  We are only 3 sentences in and you have already quoted or remembered advise that someone told you before your first one was born.  “Make time for yourself!”  But in reality, with all of the demands (task) that others place on our schedule, we feel an overwhelming burden to make sure that everyone else’s needs are taken care of that we forget that we have needs, wants, and desires of our own.

Parenting is only a Role

The above image (courtesy of www.rebirthofreason.com) is a great depiction of our lives.  It is easy to become consumed with the many tasks associated with the various roles that we lose who we are. Parenting is no different.

Before becoming a husband or wife, a mother or father, a professional or tradesman, I was (Insert your name here).  You never ceased being (Insert your name here) when you took on these roles.  These roles simply meant that you have new responsibilities and tasks associated with who you are, but they should not redefine who you are.

The Danger in the Chaos

You can not delegate the responsibilities of being (Insert your name here) to anyone else.  Therefore, if you do not make the time to remember, discover, and cultivate (Insert your name here), you may wake up tomorrow, or even worse…years from now, wondering where all of the time has gone.  You may even resent the roles, task, responsibilities and the people associated with each because you now realize that it was all for them and not you.

The Battle Within

Selfish, huh? NOPE!  Maybe from their perspective, but not when you have neglected other God-given assignments, passions, dreams that have been lying dormant inside of you because of your focus on all of the other “stuff!”

When kids move out, some parents realize they have lost their sense of self and for others their marriages fall apart because a disproportionate amount of time, talent, and treasure was spent on one role (name your role/task here) than on others (husband/wife or name your role/task here).

Parenting is a role that lasts a lifetime, but should be redefined as your children reach various milestones.  I believe some parents enable their kids, self consciously or purposely, so that they do not leave the home at 18.  This allows them to continue being a parent and not face the reality of it only being a role.

Digging for Treasure (Discover & Cultivate You)

There is a treasure, a passion, a calling that was hidden inside of you at conception (2 Corinthians 4:6-7 KJV).  When we were kids, our self conscience allowed us to live in that place for hours at a time, imagining (visioning) what life would be like when we were older. To cultivate something is to prepare and develop it for a greater use.  We must put down all of the tasks, even the ones that we feel are most important and even define who we are, to discover and cultivate our true sense of self.

When you know who you are, I would venture to say that you will preform your tasks at an even higher level of excellence, because they will be wrapped in the true essence of who you are.

So…Tell Me About (Insert your name here)

I just love that interview question, “Tell me about yourself.” Even when meeting someone for the first time, we define ourselves by the “role(s)” we value most. “Hi…I’m a Doctor, a Lawyer, Stay-at-home Mom/Dad.”

Why don’t we say “Hi, I’m a Christian, an optimistic, adventurous, generous, caring creative, resilient, hard worker, etc. These descriptions actually give a glimpse into who you are and how you handle the various roles, task, and responsibilities assigned to you.

Start TODAY!!!

Below are a few steps that you can take TODAY to discover and cultivate the true YOU!

  1. Find Quiet Time. Find at least 30mins a day, when you do nothing but sit in silence.  I know..30mins seems too good to be true.  Start with 5 mins, then work your way up.  I hear you, I need more time! MAKE THE TIME!  Delegate some of those other tasks and responsibilities. This is important to your mental and physical health and well-being. Remember, quiet time.  Not reading a book or browsing social media.  Complete silence.
  2. Find Your Frequency: Drown out the noise, so that you can hear what is going on inside of you.  Your brain will be used to being overstimulated, thinking about what you should be and could be doing.  Relax!  Give it time.  This is kinda like a finding the frequency to your favorite radio station.  It is always on air, but it is up to you to “tune in” to the proper frequency to hear what is being said.  Give it time.
  3. Write YOUR Vision: But Not Yet!  You must take the time to retrain your mind on how to drown out the noise so that you can hear clearly.  After a couple weeks, your true self will continue to speak.  Do not worry about forgetting what you thought about.  If it is really who you are and not just another good idea for someone else’s benefit, it will come to your again.  Listen for patterns and themes of thought.
  4. Cultivate: After you have written down who you are, begin to take the steps required to prepare and develop YOU!  This is a journey, not a destination.  When you are tuned in, you will continuously discover ways to become the YOU you were born to be.

TheOriginalMentor

 


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Remember when you first found out and you felt the weight of the world on your shoulders? Most of us, (well I will speak for me) I was not responsible enough in my on right, now, I am responsible for the existence and well being of someone else. A precious, gentle, little angel, a miracle, a bundle of joy (until you found out it was a boy, then he became a rugged, rough and tumble little boy). Sorry, I did not intend to sound sexist. I am dad…ok now I’m generalizing. Sorry…I will just move on. 🙂

I remember the feeling, the mountain of responsibility that I do not think anyone is really ready to take on. We may want it, but are we ever ready? There are plenty of classes and books like “What to Expect When Expecting” (which was a HUGE help to me), but none prepare you for “your child”, their personality, the subtle differences that make them and your household unique from any other. My wife and I have Child Development degrees from Michigan State, but all of that seems to go out of the window when you have a lil boy who is 14 months and still not walking. Even though we knew that all kids developed and matured at their own pace, we still wondered, “is something wrong with his legs, did we do something, how can I help him?”

Where am I going with this…ever second of their lives, from an infant to toddler, through adolescents and even tween years, we are inspecting, guiding, caring, in their ear, trying to teach them everything they need to know. Then one day in the hustle of life and through them plugging into other “influences” (iPods, TV, video games, friends, internet, etc.) we fall silent.

It is not always intentional. You start a new career, your own business or even a blog. You get your first iPad…I’m just saying things happen! :-). In years past, we were like stalkers (yes I said it, think about it) hovering over them with constant reminders of what they needed to do to stay safe from, “don’t touch that, hot!, don’t run with that in your hand, get down from there, your going to poke your eye out!, get that out of your mouth (or nose, ear, other).” The reality is this…the things that will hurt them in these later years can be far more dangerous, just less obvious.

We fall silent for days at a time thinking that we have time to tell them later. We had one or two conversations with them last week and now we feel like we have done our part, but those can not undo the influences piped into them hours, days, and months prior. We only talked to them because we see signs or real evidence of something we did not like.

My point…Silence Kills! The more they do not hear the words and voice of TRUTH, the weaker your influence becomes. Parents! You can not afford to be silent in your own house, because you will loose influence over your entire family. If you do not give your kids TRUTH, what will they use to guide them when you are not around. TRUTH provides a moral compass that guides them and helps them to make decisions when mommy and daddy are not there. TRUTH protects them from peer preassure. TRUTH gives them hope. TRUTH gives them healing. TRUTH empowers them to move forward in spite of the obstacles they face.

The question is…WHAT IS YOUR TRUTH?

If you do not formalize what is your TRUTH, society will do it for you. There are many realities, but only one TRUTH. Just because the world makes a thing legal, thus a reality, it does not make it TRUTH in my household.

Reality…you can stop at the corner store and buy cigarettes. TRUTH, they cause cancer and can kill you. We have had family members die from lung cancer. My son asked, “Daddy, why does G-Ma smoke if it can make her die?” My response, “Son, in our household, we do not smoke cigarettes. We will pray to God that she will stop.” #Truth

Reality…alcohol is a social outlet that is ok in moderation. TRUTH…many in my family have become addicted to alcohol, which caused them to injure others (physically and emotionally), damage property and not realize their full potential. My response, “Son, in our household, we do not drink alcohol (especially under the age of 21).” #Truth

Reality….in many states, it is legal for same sex couples to get married. TRUTH…I believe that marriage should be between a man and a women. Not something that we had ever talk about until last week. He was walking past the TV and saw/heard on the news that two men were getting married. “Dad, I thought only man and a women could get married. That’s nasty!” I rebuked him for calling the men nasty and talk to him about loving everyone, even if they are doing something that we do not believe. My repsponse, “Son, in our house, we believe marriage is between a man and a women.” #Truth

Do we hate any of the above for what they do? No! We love them for who they were made to be. Do we treat them badly for what they believe? No! We just pray for them. In the same way they want us to accept that what they do and believe is ok…in that same way they must accept what I believe is ok too.

I could go on and on about the many things that society has made acceptable, but if we do not establish what is TRUTH for us we are leaving our children to face a world of conflicting views and various complicated opinions that has the potential to hinder their destiny. I am not telling you to make them a robot, who is not able to think through and understand why they believe what they believe. I am saying that we must not be silent and leave their beliefs to chance while the world legislates and drip untruths into their minds. After a while, they will no longer want to even consider your TRUTH. Silence Kills. #period

As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord (Jesus Christ). The Bible is our TRUTH. The Bible is the TRUTH that I empower my son with to handle the things of this world. I help him understand the rules of the game. We are in this world, but not of it. We have to learn to function, but we do not have to conform. We have to love everyone, but we do not have to like what they do.

Therefore thus says the Lord : “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 15:19, 20 ESV)

Reality…your kids will get angry at you for what say and make them do. TRUTH…if you train up a child in the way that they should go, when they older, they will not depart from it. That does not mean that they will not have consequences for their actions. It does not mean that they will always do the right thing. It does not mean that while they are “getting old” that they will not explore other options. It means that in their mind and in their heart that will know the TRUTH.

Reality….society (maybe even you) will not like everything that I say in this blog. TRUTH…I must speak it.

SILENCE KILLS!


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As tears form in my eyes again as I write this, I am thinking about last night when my wife and I were riding home and “Dance with my Father” a song by Luther Vandross came on. After the song was over, my wife heard sniffling and asked my son if he was ok? He burst into tears and we asked him again “Whats Wrong, What’s Wrong!?!”

He replied, “I am going to really miss you guys when I am a grown up!” (((((Silence))))))))

Initially…I was speechless and did not know what to say. Thank God for my wife, because I felt her shift into counselor mode. She asked, “What made you think about that?” He replied, “That song.” We paused again, processing what song just went off. It is a very emotional song where the writer is reflecting about the times that he and his mother had with his father. They are now very said that he is no longer around and he is asking God if he and his mother could “Dance with his Father” just one more time (see lyrics below).

My wife then asked, “How did that song make you feel.” He replied, “Sad!” She shot back, “What about that song that makes you sad?” He repeated, “I am going to really miss you guys when I am a grown up!” That is when it hit me….for the first time, he had just processed the fact that we may not always be here with him. ((((WHOA)))) That’s heavy for a grown up to process about their parents, so I can only imagine how it felt to an 8 year old.

To know my son, you know he wears his heart on his sleeve. We love his compassion and respect the fact that he appreciates us as his parents (that felt great!!).

My wife then reminded him that mommy and daddy were grown ups and that we still spend time with “granna, g-ma, papa, and grandad” who are our parents. We pray that he will have the same chance to spend with us when he is a grown up.

We then walked him through the timeline of life to help him process that at 8 years old, how he still has the rest of elementary school, middle school, high school and college, to spend with us before he made the official transition to being a grown up and we pray that we will have the pleasure of spending time with him and his wife and kids. That seemed to calm him down.

This was a Priceless and Touching Moment that we had the pleasure of experiencing with him.

Our goal as parents is to help him depend less and less on us and more and more on God, who will guide him in the way he should go. We do not want him to feel hopeless and misguided if it were in God’s will to “take us” from his life before he feels he is ready.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, to give you a hope and a future.”

The reality is, we do not know the plans that his creator has for him, so we must do all that we can to ensure that Micah has a relationship with the only one who knows. He promises to prosper him and not harm him, which is what we desire. However, because we do not know where His path leads, it is to our advantage to ensure that my son is aware that there is even a path that has been laid out for him. Even if we are not around, he can know that there is still “hope” and that he has a future. I thank God for using us and we pray that He will continue to reveal Himself to us so that we can guide Micah in the way that he should go.

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Lyrics to Dance with My Father
Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around ‘til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never, ever end
How I’d love, love, love
To dance with my father again
When I and my mother would disagree
To get my way, I would run from her to him
He’d make me laugh just to comfort me
Then finally make me do just what my mama said
Later that night when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he would be gone from me
If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him
I’d play a song that would never, ever end
‘Cause I’d love, love, love
To dance with my father again
Sometimes I’d listen outside her door
And I’d hear how my mother cried for him
I pray for her even more than me
I pray for her even more than me
I know I’m praying for much too much
But could you send back the only man she loved
I know you don’t do it usually
But dear Lord she’s dying
To dance with my father again
Every night I fall asleep and this is all I ever dream


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Years ago, I was sitting on my back porch enjoying a summer day. I may have just finished cutting the backyard, which was a blessing and a curse. I loved the fact that it was large enough to run, jump, flip, and play with my son without going to a park. However, I had to cut every square inch of it, weekly. My backyard tapered into the 8th tee of a golf course (par 3 where you had to clear a pond and escape the 4 bunkers surrounding the green). The 8th hole cut across my view, then the fairway of the 9th hole (500 yard, par 5) was directly in front of me…as far as I could see.

It was a very picturesque view. We loved to sit, watch, and enjoy all of Gods splendor. This was one of those days. I recall the sky being clear, a slight breeze in the air, birds chirping, squirrels scurrying, geese swimming, nothing but what God had created.

As I sat taking it all in, I looked down to my left and noticed a couple ants busy at work. As I watched them carry items from one place to the other, they eventually started to walk out into the backyard toward the golf course. I wondered if they lived in my backyard. Did they consider this to be there home (I know I’m weird, just go with me for a sec). Again, as the ants started to disappear as they made their way toward the golf course, I wondered how long would it talk these little ole ants to get from here……all-the-way to the end of the 500 yard, par 5, 9th hole? What would he encounters as they traveled on their journey? Golfers swinging clubs, driving golf carts, spikes on shoes, rainy days, dark midnight skies…would he finish?

Then I wondered…perhaps this backyard is as far as he would ever go? It could be so large, in his eyes, that it could take him years to explore all of the possibilities right before him. He would never know that there are millions of other backyards and thousands of other golf courses that he will never even know existed. Then it hit me….

We look the same in Gods eyes. He sits high and looks low. He has given us the responsibility to manage everything in our “backyards.” As parents, I feel that it is our responsibility to take our children “beyond our backyard” to help them explore other possibilities. Our role is to guide them and help them navigate the swinging golf clubs (enemies), golf carts (fast pace), rainy days (frustration), dark nights (distractions) that we know the world will throw at them. Sometimes our natural inclination is to overprotect, which to some means to shelter them and prevent them from being exposed to all that the world has to offer (good and bad). The mistake in this overprotective approach is that they may develop a false sense of reality, believing that the world is just like the serene “backyard” where we spend the majority of our time. However, the day will come when we, as parents, are not there to help our children manage and navigate life.

Exposure helps them discover who they are to become, while allowing them to think through the options.

The discovery process can and should take place within the safety of our backyards, but we should not let our fears build an ant farm that prevents our children from even experiencing the wonders that are in your backyards and beyond.

Allow them to explore, and as they learn, expand their boundaries to what they can handle. Sure they will test the limits, you and I both did. It is apart of growing up. My prayer (our prayer) is that they will take what we taught and apply it when we are not around. The last thing that we want is for them to discover the golf cart (fast pace) and we never told them about the golf cart or that there is a thing called a seat belt (well not really on a golf cart).

My point…because we have been exposed, we can sit and pier out into the world (from our backyards) and prepare our sons and daughters for all that the world has in store. Teach them to take the proper precautions, but encourage them to explore and grow during the process.

Please, please ensure that you look “beyond your backyard” and not limited the potential of their tomorrow, because we never expose them to what is possible.

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My son is 8. His grandparents (and other family members) have asked if he can spend the SUMMER with them? “ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?” At least that is what I thought, well I kinda say it too. There is no way I can go an entire summer without my LiL Homie (that’s what I can call him). I guess we should think of it as a complement, that someone would want to spend an entire summer with our son…and they asked us.

I asked someone the other day, at what age does a parent switch from dreading their child being gone for so long to asking “wanna take em for the summer?”

Well, we gave in, a little, and allowed him to go with Grandparents for 2 and a half weeks. He is in North Carolina spending much needed time with aunts, uncles, and cousins. But, we are only half way through and it feels like an eternity.

What is it that causes us, as parents, to press the “panic button” when our children are away for long periods of time? Fear that something might happen? Yep…but I have gotten passed that phase (with much prayer). But let’s fast forward about 10 years, to a time when it’s a bit longer than a summer vacation with family. A friend of mine said something the other day that made my stomach drop. He said, “You realize you only have another 10 years with him? After that, he will be moving on to college. Value and cherish the time now.” As I reflected, what made my stomach drop was the feeling of “not being needed” by him any more. Huuuhhhhh!!! (you know the sound you make when someone punches you in the gut?)

As a parent our goal should be to work ourselves out of a job. Parents have instincts to nurture, teach, and develop, but we still want to hold on forever. The Discovery Channel displays how animals and other species help their young discover their “kill or be killed” instinct…fly or fall to your death reality. There comes a time when a momma eagle will push her baby out of the nest and they better flap their wings before they hit the ground (or else).

There will come a time when we will have to trust what we have placed inside of them. A time when they can make decisions for themselves.

As parents, we can not hold on so tight (at 8 years old) and expect them, at 18, to be ready to make decisions and live apart from us if we never provide them with the opportunity to practice their decision making (while they are still within our reach to guide them when they made a mistake

They will make mistakes, that’s apart of the growth process. For some, success starts to feel like failure when their child begins to stand on their own two feet, realizing their independence, not needing us for every decision. We may mask it or not realize it, but empty nest syndrome is very real! We have to trust what we put inside them or start today preparing them for a life apart from us. The reality is, we will not be by their side all the time, but we should want them to use what we taught as a reference as they stand at the crossroads of life…having the moral compass to know right from wrong, good from bad, success from negative consequence, their decision not ours.

My wife and I now see it more as passing the torch. We want our son to be exposed to more than who we are so that he can discover who God has made him to be. It’s a big world out there and we can not possibly teach him all that he needs to know. We are imparting God’s word in him, so he will seek Gods voice as a guide instead of ours who could possible steer him wrong. We want him to realize who we were depending on to guide him in the first place. If you want to know the purpose of a thing, you must ask the one who created it. He is the only one that “knows the plans that He has for us, to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

When we take the focus off ourselves and focus on preparing them, our feeling of failure transforms into a feeling of joy as we realize that what we see them doing is flapping their wings right before they hit the ground. Now…we just have to let them fly.