I dusted off the Valentine's mailboxes. A tradition I used to love on my kids when they were in early elementary school. I put them high up in a box stored in the garage for a few reasons. Life got busier the older they got. School filled up their holidays with parties and treats. I got busier juggling my business, ministry and their full schedules and 'kichy' Valentine's day pinterest mom side of me just lost priority. As I brought them down off the highest shelf in our garage, I remembered. A global pandemic is a perfect time to fill February with a daily treat and just love on my kids well. I don't claim to always know what I'm doing or even what is best. In my sixteen years and four kids of this journey I've picked up a few things along the way, I wanted to share with you.
1. YOU GET WHAT YOU BRAG ON.
This is not a suggestion to walk around tooting the horn of all your children's accomplishments. What I'm proposing is something that would take place between you and your kids. It's in accordance to Proverbs 18:21, The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. As parents we can use our words to breath hope and healing into our kids. It's choosing to communicate what you see in them now and desire to cultivate in them for their future. So on February 1 alongside our mailbox treats we started the sticky note door and it will continue to Valentine's Day. I'm not crafty, so thank you Pinterest. Each night Marcus and I pick a quality or ability to brag on our kids. Having been home together, 24/7 in California stay at home order, it's easy for us to critique our kids and spotlight their weakness. This is a challenge to parent from the other side. Acknowledging strength and providing an environment to soar.
2. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.
It's pretty obvious to look through a lens that identifies the life we don't want. Whether it's a home, a car, or another child's behavior or family situation and declare, I don't want that. These sometimes leave us leading our lives and our homes from a place of fear. "OH NO!" instead of "A-Ha!" We don't want that to happen, we don't want them to act like that, we couldn't bear that burden, God help us if we end up there. But what do you want? How do you want your child to behave? What choices do you hope they make? What do you want them to become? That's called a vision. God says without it, people perish. With it, comes freedom in life. It's why we created our Jones Tribe Values. Loving our children well requires us equipping them for the next twenty years, not just getting through the next twenty minutes.
The world has told us that we can have it all. So we say "yes" to much and pursue a lot. That can lead us to striving, desperate to attain that empty promise. I'm not sure if we can have it all. Either way, I don't think we can have it all at once. Someone is going to pay a price. Inevitably some days that is my children. In my attempt to chase my kids and my dreams, I don't always get it right. Sometimes I kill it, and sometimes I swing and miss. My point, we must consider the ramifications on our children when we make daily choices. I am not suggesting you have to stay at home or never enjoy a Girls Night Out to make your kids a priority. This isn't about living completely child centered. On the contrary, arranging time with your spouse and moments of personal solitude actually can make us better moms. It's merely considering the big picture, prioritizing needs and living in structure. This has meant I am not always personally gratified because it's been the right choice to put certain career opportunities on hold. It's meant saying no, to events or occasions that would be fun for me because my children need me now. It's sacrificing in the immediate to fulfill the ultimate. A quote I read in a friends status update haunts me and applies when I'm considering my priorities.
Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.
~ Catherine M. Wallace
Share your stories or ways you've discovered to love your kids well. It truly takes a village so comment below and help a sister out.