As promised, I am blogging about the first 4 items on the list of 52 Things Kids Need From a Mom. I won’t go into too much detail, but enough to give you an idea of the item. Keep in mind that even though my son is just over a year old, these are things I plan to begin doing as soon as possible. Repetition is the key to parenting just like anything else. The more Carter sees and witnesses these things, the more he’ll understand my priorities.
Number 1: To Pray In Secret with the Door Open
Kids are observant. EXTREMELY observant. And when we least expect them to be. I know I’m not the only one to pray with my child at night before bedtime and that is a great habit to start forming when they’re young. But I can’t help but think about when I was kid. My parents would give me a list of chores to do around the house and I always thought “why do I have to do it if they don’t have to do it”. Now granted, prayer is not necessarily a chore, but the concept still applies. I can pray with Carter every night before bed, but he needs to see me praying on my own when no one is watching to completely understand how important prayer is and that I’m not doing it with him just for the heck of it, but that there’s a reason. Carter has already stepped in on my Bible study time numerous times, he’s just not at an age where he’s aware of it yet. I have my Bible in my bathroom on my vanity and I read it everyday. It’s usually the weekends where Carter stumbles into the bathroom and runs to me and puts his hands up to me as if saying “I want to sit in your lap mommy”. I pull him up to sit in my lap and continue reading. Naturally he gets bored and squirms to get out to move onto the next thing, but the key is that he sees me reading my Bible. I wasn’t doing it for show, he came to me. This is how our kids need to see us spending time with God. It’s the only way they’ll truly know how important it is.
Number 2: To Never Stop Touching Them
Ever heard of the Five Love Languages? Justin and I read the book and took the test during our premarital counseling and I loved it. We discovered that Justin’s love language is quality time and that mine is acts of service. This has helped us a lot in our marriage. Well, I had NO idea that there’s a kid version of the Five Love Languages. One of the love languages is physical touch and that’s where this item comes from, though it applies to all children, even if their language is not physical touch. Boys and girls alike, everyone loves to have their hair played with or their back scratched or something of that nature. That physical touch is a powerful thing. A touch that says (as the author in the books states) “I am madly in love with you”. Our children must know that we are MADLY in love with them and touch is the best way to show it. A hug. A pat on the shoulder. A rubbing of the back while laying in their bed with them before they doze off. Touch shows that we care enough to take the time show our love.
Number 3: To Hang Hearts of Love over Their Lives
LOVED this one. I had no idea what this meant when I started reading it and then it got to the point and I was like “Oh my goodness, this is amazing”. How do you show the people that you love the most that you love them? When I think of that, only one answer comes to mind. I simply tell them that I love them. Carter is no exception to this. Every night before I leave his room, I always kiss him on the head and say “Mommy loves you very much Carter, but God loves you more”. That second part is a whole other thing to discuss at a later time, but the point is the first part “Mommy loves you very much Carter”. You could say those three little words so often that they become meaningless. Which I imagine is what it does with our kids. They hear us tell them that we love them because it’s routine. We’re parents. We’re supposed to say that. But here’s what the author suggests, and it’s shockingly simple. Be specific.
Tell them what qualities it is that you love about them. What do they do that brings you joy? Be specific! The author gave an example of what she does on Valentine’s Day and I am stealing this tradition for my own household. Every Valentine’s Day, while her kids are at school, she makes cut out hearts from pink, red and white construction paper. She hangs yarn between the hearts and on each heart, she writes down one thing that she loves about that child. Y’all. So simple, yet I would have NEVER thought of it. How cool would it be to come home from school to see a crap ton of hearts all over your bedroom that list out all the things about you that your parents love? I am going to start doing this in 2013. Not because Carter will understand it this year (he won’t). But I plan to keep them every year so that he can see them later.
Number 4: To Watch Them Go Out of Sight
The book gives an example from an airport that, given our current TSA restrictions, couldn’t be replicated, but you can get the overall idea of it. Guy is talking to his friend about the fact that he just took his girlfriend to the airport. Guy asks friend why she didn’t just take a taxi and friend says that he wanted to take her. Guy asks if friend dropped her at the curb, or walked her inside. Friend walked her inside. Guy asks friend if he stopped at security or if he walked her to her gate. Friend walked her to her gate. Friend also waited on her to board the plane. Waited on the plane to push back from the gate and even waited on the plane to take off. Guy responds with “dude you’re in love”. We want our children to see us never taking our eyes off them. Granted the airport security scenario won’t happen, but substitute a school bus for it. Don’t just walk your kid to the bus stop and then leave (or even worse, not walk them to the stop at all). But go with them to the bus stop. Wait for them to get on the bus. And wait for the bus to drive off. If your child is on the bus and driving away and turns to where you were standing, you need to still be there. By doing this, you are saying to your child “I will never take my eyes off of you and I will be here to the end”.
5 through 8 coming later. Might be a few days though. It took me two days to write this because I’ve been so busy!