I started out by asking him about some of his favorite things. It turns out that he loves walks to the park, the story of the wise men bringing gifts to baby Jesus, and the color blue. He thinks that his younger brother will be a cowboy when he grows up, but he is going to be a Samurai Ninja. The conversation wasn’t just a one time exercise in interviewing to see what cute things my son might say-although that is part of the fun! I try to be intentional to sit down face-to-face with my sons on a regular basis to get to know them from the inside out by having a “couch-talk”.
The reason my closest friends are my closest friends is that I know I can talk with them about anything. We have a history of trust, curled up on a couch with a cup of tea logging many hours of sharing our hearts with one another-the sin issues we are facing, the hopes we have for our marriages and children, our concerns about our health, where the best deals are at our favorite stores, or the victories we are gaining in our spiritual walks through Christ’s strength. I realize that true unity is built by asking hard questions at times as well as being vulnerable when it’s our turn to do the sharing.
My desire is that my boys feel they are able to open up to me in this same way and they will feel a deep sense of being known by people who love them unconditionally. Although my kids will never be “just buddies” to me, they are still my friends and I want them to know that they are able to talk to me at any time, about anything. When we don’t feel safe talking to someone, not much gets past superficial chit-chat. That’s not enough for me when it comes to my children. If they feel that they can’t talk to me, then they may turn to friends or peers who may not give them the best counsel or encouragement. I want them to bond with friends, but my prayer is that the bond we have as a family will always be the strongest bond they have. In these early years, especially, my goal is to lay the foundation for knowing one another through heart-felt and meaningful “couch-talks”. I’m discovering beautiful things about their hearts, learning about areas that need more of my attention, and our relationship is being strengthened as we learn about each other. I come away from these moments with a full heart, and I now they do too!
It’s never too late to start the process of communicating more meaningfully with your children-even if they are fully grown. Get into the habit of inquiring after their hearts, their interests, and their lives. Show genuine interest, even if they balk at first, or don’t take you seriously. Keep asking, and above all, listen well. Allow it to be a time where you are hearing, learning, and loving them. Pray that God will bless the words, guard your tongue, and make it a time where you both are enriched.
There is a time to keep silent, and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7
For Oliver, Quinn, and Oakely...my super stars! May you never question your value or purpose!
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Life By Design, A TV Project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJXJq4-2YDE