I want to dive into the area of communication with our children and although this will be written from my perspective as a single parent, I am speaking to all parents out there.
By the way, I have made so many mistakes in this area and I am constantly course correcting and asking God for His wisdom and grace.
I want to explore transparency with our kids because I think this is an important topic as parents. I think in a family situation we have to learn to be honest but with discretion. I have a friend who tells her kids EVERYTHING—the good, the bad and the ugly. And honestly, when they were younger I wanted to cover their ears and protect them from gossip, pain and the worries of this world. It’s so interesting because now that they are older, in some ways they are far more mature than most young people their age. They are incredibly intelligent and also very street smart. But I see them struggle with relationships…they don’t necessarily have the skills to work things out with people. I believe it’s because their mom processed so much with them and in front of them and they learned how to talk about it (a problem), but not necessarily what to do about it. They weren’t taught the skills to go and make things right with that person so I see them hold grudges and withhold love.
With children we have to ask ourselves what is appropriate, what is necessary, and what is fruitful. We can allude to a situation (with the right motivation) without going into every little detail. Our kids can understand there is a problem without carrying the burden of the problem. Praying ahead of time is a powerful tool for getting God’s wisdom on what to share.
I have chosen not to share the details of the disintegration of my marriage with my boys yet but there will be a day when I do. Time is such a wonderful gift…it offers perspective, healing and wisdom. I believe when that day comes the conversation will be healthy and appropriate. The one thing I have always tried to model and share with them is the idea that our feelings are valid and it is okay to feel and process pain and heartache. I’ve mentioned this before but there were many days where they would see me crying in my bed and I was okay with that. I shared that I was hurting and working through some intense pain and they offered love and empathy. I didn’t have to dig in with the details but they knew what was going on.
Awhile back as I was getting a pedicure, a beautiful older woman sat down next to me around the same time. At some point God prompted my heart to share my faith with her. I am so disappointed to tell you that I wrestled with God and told him I had no “opener” (so lame), so I ended up just telling her to have a good day. Sigh.
In the mornings I pray for the boys and ask God to help us be obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit. For those of you who don’t know what that means, the Holy Spirit is part of the trinity of God. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit brings wisdom and I liken it to that still, small voice we have inside of us. For those who know and walk with Christ, it’s the little nudges and the small promptings that speak to us throughout the day.
After this prayer on that particular day I shared with Jake that God had nudged me to share Jesus with this woman, probably because he knew her heart was ready to receive. And I had blatantly said no by choosing not to start a conversation with her. I told Jake that I was really disappointed in myself and I wish I could have a redo. I told him that I was praying that God would redeem by bringing someone else across her path to share His love with her. He patted me on the shoulder (his version of empathy and grace), and encouraged me to do better next time. I just love that kid. I dumped my shortcomings on the table, he looked at them with compassion, and then chose to respond with love.
Let’s give our kids the gift of authenticity mixed with wisdom. And when we mess up, let’s ask for their forgiveness. It doesn’t get any more real than that.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.