Our kids are learning to trust us. As they are growing up (the oldest will be a teenager in a couple of weeks), I value this reality more and more.
They trust us.
And that is ultimately far more important than whether or not we can trust them.
Strange statement? Consider with me...
They are kids. We know this. We trust them to be just that: kids. They will do childish things. They will learn from mistakes. Some lessons will be harder than others. This is what it means to grow up.
But we are parents. We are adults. We grew up already. We should be trustworthy. They have to - need to - know that they can trust us. Trust us not to lose our cool. Trust us to tell the truth. Trust us to accept the truth even when it's hard to hear. Trust us to respond with patience and kindness and all that stuff the Bible says about Love (yep, that applies to parents, too). Trust us to admit when we screw up. Trust us to value them more than our own image. Trust us to consistently put their best, first. Trust us to make wise, careful decisions on their behalf. Trust us to never shame them or embarrass them. Trust us to be strong when they are weak.
Who would fear that?
Discipline, training, consequences - yes, yes, yes. All of that, yes, of course! Kids need (and I believe, want) to know that they are not in charge. But never shame. Never a break in relationship. Never a doubt that we love them unconditionally.
Never a breach of trust.
Today a teacher assumed my daughter was crying about something that happened because, as she put it, "She knew you were going to find out about it and she didn't want you to know." Huh? No! She'd told me all about it before the teacher had a chance to. She was crying because the situation had upset her more than the teacher initially realized. We'd come to her room to talk it out; we were able to solve the problem together and my daughter came away with a couple of good lessons. But this idea that she "didn't want me to know" was completely foreign to her. "Mom, why would she think that?" She was baffled. For the teacher to naturally assume that, was sad.
I remember the day my son said "dammit" in school. I didn't have to hear it from a principal or a teacher or even his brother (who is in the same grade). He told me as soon as he walked out the door. Shoulders slumped down, he heaved a big sigh as he walked toward me. "What's up, bud?" "I said the D-word and the teacher heard it." "Really? How'd that go?" He shook his head, "Not good..."
And the time my other son waited till all his siblings were out of the room before he closed the door, crawled up in my lap, and wept till his whole body shook. He needed help. He'd tried to deal with a situation himself and it wasn't working. He didn't know what else to do. He was hurting...
As a mom, I may screw up a million different ways. I'm sure I do. Some will say I've been too lenient here, others that I've been too controlling there. Both may be right, I don't know. But if I maintain their trust - this precious, priceless thing - I'll count myself the victor.
They each have a path to walk, a path I will not be able to control - but oh how I want to be able to walk it with them, together trusting Our Father who longs for us to run to Him. Unafraid. Sure of His response, confident of His Love.
Where else would we go but into the arms of our Maker? We can trust Him. He loves us.... dammit! (wink)