RAISING KIDS: Pay attention. Loosen up.

3 QUICK THINGS I’m remembering (then forgetting) (then re-remembering) in this season of parenthood –

#1   Pay attention to the Holy Spirit

Sometime last week in the middle of the night, I woke up scared.

I told myself to Get a grip! 

But the fear was a weird, consuming urgency, and it had to do with my boys. I got up – went into each of their rooms – knelt by their beds – prayed for them.

It wasn’t otherworldly. My knees hurt and one of the dogs woke up too and wagged expectantly – nose-nudging my armpit – thinking I must be down on the floor to play.

I just prayed until the fear went away and I’m glad I did.

It got me thinking that too often I’m concerned about something I see in one of my boys, and I shrug it off as just a phase and he’ll grow out of it.

And sometimes it’s just a phase and he’ll grow out of it.

But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the small thing I see will influence a big future. There’s something of destiny at stake and I need to Pay Attention.

Most of parenting involves this kind of discernment in the moment. We walk the tightrope of grit and grace. Do I hang back to build resilience? Do I lean in to rescue? Is this a teachable moment? Or is this just a moment? Is this a big deal or a deal-breaker or not mine to deal with at all?

I’m asking God to help me hear Him. To stop me in my tracks – or wake me in the night – when I need to Pay Attention.


#2   Pay attention to your kids

This week I read an Inc. article describing the five common listening barriers for leaders. All five totally apply to my mothering.

Apparently, this is happening in international boardrooms. It’s definitely happening everyday in my kitchen –

1 Mind reading: Trying to figure out what the other person is really thinking and feeling.

2 Filtering: Listening for certain things, but not everything.

3 Judging: When you make up your mind about someone and ignore or discount what they have to say as a result.

4 Advising: Thinking of solutions to problems for others when they haven’t finished saying what they have to say.

5 Being right: Ignoring criticism to avoid being wrong about something.

Gosh. My kids are loud – but do I really hear them?


#3   Loosen up

Psalm 127 has this to say about learning to relax:

Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted… It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones. Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him…

Guys, such freedom in this, yes?

Jesus is building our homes: from actual beating hearts outwards, not from walls of good behaviour inwards.

He’s reinforcing foundations. Re-plastering hurt-cracks.

We’re part of the workforce, sure. And we carry the unique mom-mandate or dad-directive under our unique roofs.

But we don’t have to project manage our families. We don’t have to strive and fear and control and fall prey to the pride that has us worrying what others will think if we’re not flawless because we’re about wholeness, not perfection.

We can enjoy our kids as they are, for who they are, unafraid of their struggles or mistakes because these are so often the catalyst for strong-inner-man growth spurts.

So long as we’re listening – let’s loosen up.

. . .

Wishing you a fantastic weekend, friend.

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  1. Oh my shattered nerves. Dalene, your posts always speak to me, but your one from today shook me and had me re-reading it over again. Thank you!!
    It’s something I find myself doing too much and over analyzing each and every step of raising kids and then being ultra disappointed when things aren’t textbook. Wow. I’ll pause on this one for a while. 🤗🙏🏻


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