but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa
Packing lunches! This is not my favourite parenting task! Trying to keep it interesting, healthy and tasty is no easy feat at times, but I certainly do try to do my best. I remember when I was in public school, my mom would always try to provide myself and my siblings with a little encouragement to help us with our day. We would always pray together before going to school and another way she did this was to write little love notes in our lunchbox. Sometimes it was a short phrase, a word of encouragement or a cute joke or riddle. It was often written on a napkin, and was something I really looked forward to each day. Not only did I enjoy it, but this simple ritual gained a lot of attention in my elementary classroom. Kids, lunch monitors and adult lunch aides would often eagerly gather around to see what I received each day. Proudly I would share openly grinning from ear to ear just what my wonderful mom had written. Looking back on that now, it has occurred to me that although kids were curious about what my clever mom had to say each day, I wonder if they were a little bit envious as well? Not to say that they didn’t have good parents, but what little kid wouldn’t want an encouraging note in his or her lunch each day if you asked him or her? Let’s face it being a kid can be rough at times and we as their parents need to recognize that and lift their spirits whenever we can.
I would sometimes carry on the lunchbox love note tradition with my kids when they were younger. I felt like the best mother out there and was so proud to continue this special little ritual my mom had started. This window of opportunity for this type of thing is much smaller than it seemed though. There comes a time when they get older when this type of parenting can become a source of embarrassment for them. I found out the hard way when my son came home at quite a young age much to my dismay very upset. He said that a student who knew about the notes, snatched my love note out of his lunchbox and read it aloud sarcastically to the whole class. My son was mortified and thus sadly the special lunchbox notes came to a screeching halt. As the kids get older your communication methods change. Now I find texting them very effective. It may be with encouragement for a test, or regarding a struggle they may be experiencing, or just to let them know I am thinking of them. It also is a simple yet powerful way to feel connected to them. Sometimes I need to make a conscious effort to engage in meaningful conversation with each of my kids. They are so busy with their teenage lives and although we are in the same household, I can sometimes feel that a really meaningful conversation session is long overdue. Sometimes this needs to be scheduled like I will go for a walk with my daughter and chat, or I might take my son out for coffee to visit. Sometimes it may come at the most inconvenient time like let’s say 12:30 at night when I am completely exhausted and just need to crash! I have learned to be open to these times however, as tired as I may be as some of the best talks I have ever had with my kids have come up then. An unexpected moment, but still very meaningful. Apparently according to my dad I was also famous for these late night, endless, soul bearing chitchat fests so I guess my kids are just following suit! Oh well, I am grateful because as my kids grow, we have deeper conversations and I am so happy they feel they can openly talk to me about anything on their hearts.
This has happened at school with my students as well. Sometimes they will come up to me in class or walk alongside with me when I am on yard duty and share very special aspects of their lives with me. They will convey their hopes, dreams, struggles and interests. In these times we chat more as friends and I feel blessed that they trust me enough to share openly with me in this manner.
Sometimes we think we have to take the time to have a lengthy conversation to provide encouragement. Never underestimate the power of small, meaningful phrases that can provide really big comfort. Try these for example: “I am proud of you!” “You got this!” “Good for you!” “You are really improving!” “Keep up the good work!” “This is your forte!” “That’s my girl!” “That’s my boy!” You get the picture. One of the most powerful short phrases a teacher ever said to me when I was unsure about a difficult project was “I am leaving this is your very capable hands!” I admired this teacher so much and I felt if he believed in me and my abilities, then I guess I should too.
The Bible says to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Sometimes it is good to pray and ask God for wisdom about what our kids need to hear from us. They may be going through things that we are not even aware of and God can reveal this to us when we pray for them. The most important thing to remember is to keep the communication lines open no matter what your kids are going through. Let them know they can come to you with anything regardless, even if it is difficult, disappointing or embarrassing. That is what we as parents are there for. Keep the encouragement flowing. They need it. Being a kid or teenager can be very challenging some days and it is easy for us to forget that sometimes. Letting your kids know that you are in their corner, and you believe in them is so crucial. So put a note in their lunch, send a loving text, set a special outing on the calendar, or write them a card. Whatever works for you and your kids, just do it! It will help your relationship grow and it will help your child more than you could ever know!
Proverbs 16:24: Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Little Lesson Learned: Being a kid can be hard sometimes. Let your kids know you remember that, you care and you got their backs.
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014