By Elisabeth Corcoran
Sara has taken to creating her own little songs these days - simple, not too profound, but very Sara. They usually involve pointing out her beauty at the time - still no shred of self-esteem issues with my precious girl. Then today, out of the blue, we were sitting outside on a gorgeous summer day, she had just picked a few tulips and was skipping up the driveway, and she looks at me and starts singing the most foundational parenting lesson I've ever been faced with, "I like my Mommy because 'la la la'she always likes me 'la la la' and now I like the whole world." Oh my word! My daughter is telling me that she likes me - she loves me - because I like her - in fact, because I always like her. My love and affinity for her must come first, before she can not only learn to love me - but going onto her other little gem - that she now likes the whole world - what she sees and who she interacts with - because of my foundational love for her. Wow. Now, of course, once again, my 5-year-old was not trying to endow me with a parenting lesson, but she sure did. My love for her will shape her - it is shaping her. It will shape her love for me, it will form her love for her father and brother, it will influence her love of herself, it will mold her choices of what friends she allows to let into her heart and how well she loves them, it will even affect the man she selects to marry and how well she decides to love him.
Okay, are you feeling the pressure - the weight of your daughter's and son's complete future riding on your shoulders right about now? I don't want to give you immediate relief - I want you to sit with this thought for a minute, just sort of ruminating in the implications of these statements. It is a burden. Being someone's mother is the largest responsibility anyone can be presented, hands down. And we do have infinite power, way more than I think we realize, in how our children turn out - in how well they feel loved and in how well they end up loving. This is a huge task.
Okay, relief time. Because alas, ladies, we are not alone. We can love our children well and fully and completely because we are loved first. And loved well and fully and completely. By Someone who really knows how to love.
And on the flipside, we can love yet selfishly and rudely and only moderately at times - we can cut ourselves a bit of slack now and then - because that same Someone who is loving us and helping us love, is also loving our children...perfectly. We are not the only ones who are loving them and showing them how to love - but we are still responsible to do so, with His help.
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