Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A MOTHER'S DAY POST: Lifting up my Child

I had thought about posting a Mother’s Day blog post for a while, but had no idea what to post exactly, and wasn’t sure if my heart was really in it. Then something happened the other day when I was dropping off my son at Mother’s Day Out.

We always arrive a little bit early to Mother’s Day Out, while the teachers are having their morning meeting, so I can sit with Buddy, and reassure him that God is with him throughout the day, that he’ll have so much fun, etc. Another mother and her daughter are always early too, and we talk occasionally, but typically it’s just the standard let’s politely laugh and tell the other mom how cute their child is deal going on, not really making much eye contact with one another, awkward thing. Well this woman’s daughter is such a talker. She always runs around adventurously, saying whatever is on her mind and in perfectly understandable non-babble sentences, mind you. She looked at Buddy and asked her mom “ Is he a baby??” She asked this because Buddy doesn’t talk. He is very shy in public, as well as having a major speech delay. He cannot communicate with the others in his class as they can, which to a three year old makes him seem like a baby. My first reactions were to be very hurt, and so thankful that Buddy didn’t quite comprehend this. I was angry at this very innocent comment by a three year old. But what was my response? “Noooo, he acts like a baby sometimes though”. WHAT? Why the heck did I say this? Did he hear this and did it hurt him? On my way home I cried because of something that was said about my child that could hurt him, and that I-his mother- said something that could potentially hurt him as well.

You might be thinking, why is she so upset she said that, she just said he acts like a baby? This was just a quick comment, something that seems so insignificant, and Buddy probably didn’t even comprehend what I was saying, but what if he did? How many other things have I said to him that I think are just silly little comments that have hurt him? And how many more things in the future will I say that will affect his self-esteem? I feel like our culture now is not wanting to brag on our children too much, so it’s funny for moms in conversation to say “what a weirdo” or “he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed” in front of friends or family members. We know we are joking, and most of the time, our kids probably know we are too, but what happens when our “joking filter” lets out other things that aren’t uplifting to our children? I know you’ve all heard that quote: the way you speak to your children will become their inner voices. I don’t know about y’all, but that speaks volumes to me.
The words we choose to say about our children and around our children can either bless them greatly or be quite damaging; those words will become an inner voice of confidence or an inner voice of low self-esteem.

So how are we to stop this pattern of talking down to our children or saying things that could negatively impact them?

Realize That Our Children are Rewards and Gifts from the Lord
Psalm 127:3 says that children are rewards and gifts from the Lord. They are gifts from our Father! Gift-implying that we have done nothing to deserve them. We, of course all believe that our children are just perfect, but how often do we show them through our words that we believe they are fearfully and wonderfully made? Only when we are pleased with them? Only when they are being cute or funny? It should come out even when we are disciplining them or frustrated with them. Being fully conscious that our children are gifts, given to us by the grace of God, who has entrusted us with them, puts it all into a whole new perspective. Buddy is a precious gift to me, and therefore I need to cherish him in every waking moment, showing him nothing but constant affection as my Father has shown to me.

It Starts With Us
I always say how much I “hate” a song, or “hate” that certain kind of food. My child will grow up saying he hates everything. It starts with us, moms. It starts with understanding that whatever comes out of our mouths is born in our hearts. And God’s Word says in Ephesians 4:29 that what we say shouldn’t be any unwholesome talk, but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs. Our children need to be built up by our words. We worry so much about how others will tear them down, that we don’t think about how much of an impact our little comments could hurt them. This has been a tough tough lesson for me. I should have kind things to say in every situation, because that should be the attitude of my heart. But sometimes I’m an impatient and tired mother who doesn’t stop to think that my corrupt talk has such an impact on my child. And that what my child learns from me, will be not only how he talks to himself, but treats others.

I want my child to love himself. I want my child to respect himself. I want my child to respect others. I want to change the attitude of my heart so that no corrupt words come from my mouth, but words that lift up my sweet Buddy.

Lord, let me see the blessing my child is every day, that he is a gift from you. Give me a kind disposition and to learn to love kindness. Grant me the strength it takes to resist any corrupt talk, or anything negative that could hurt my child’s self-esteem.  Give me the wisdom it takes to teach my child your Word.

Let’s be mothers who train our hearts to focus on the goodness in all situations, in others, and most of all in our children.

Let’s be mothers that speak kind words that will only benefit others around us to be examples for our children, that they will grow up with a healthy sense of self.

Let’s be mother’s that love our children with the love that our Father has graciously shown us.

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