Investment: the act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.
I was thinking about this the other day – the way we invest in our children. Did you ever think of parenting in that way? What you spend your time on with your children matters, because you are investing in them.
Perhaps the harder part of parenting, though, is waiting for our investment to grow, and wondering along the way what constitutes a “worthwhile result.” Maybe a “worthwhile result” might not be seen until our children are off and on their own as functioning adults? Or, if our children and teens are having trouble does that mean our investment wasn’t worthy? Parenting is so hard in that way – so many years invested, so much time, and yet perhaps no clear idea of our impact on our children’s lives until they are out and on their own. It seems a long time to wait!
I want to encourage you today that everything you are doing for your children to guide them, model for them, teach them, talk to them with compassion and to show them how to be compassionate in the world are true success stories in every moment. Show them the wonder of life and its goodness. Show them where and how to make a difference in themselves and the world. Show them how to listen and be still and to learn to do what is right for them and how to respect others. We don’t have to wait until our children are grown to see the powerful impact we have as parents on our children’s lives. Instead, we live it every day and in the moments we are together!
So, keep on with all the beautiful things you do to teach and guide and listen. Your time is worth this investment! You get your child once, and while the days are long, the years are short.
You might be thinking, well, I don’t think I have invested my time well. I can’t get that time back, and I am so sad. Life got in the way or I didn’t know how to invest my time in my children or I was so wounded by my own life I couldn’t do much more than what I was doing to survive….. I want to encourage you as well. You can begin today. Sometimes starting with rhythms around your mealtimes and bedtimes is very helpful. You might think that sounds like a tiny place to start, but I find we cannot model and talk about the big things if we cannot follow through on the little things that make up an ordinary day. A meal prepared by all, eaten all together with a blessing or inspirational verse, can set the stage for the deepest of conversations and the most intimate gathering of hearts.
If you are wrestling with big teenagers with big issues, you have to start somewhere. If there are truly big issues, sometimes you might need a big change or large jolt to the system – my favorite vehicle for that is actually to change the environment and go tent camping and hiking. There is something about being out in the woods, away from the constant interrupting of modern life, and the hours in a nature landscape of chirping birds and buzzing insects that helps a teenager to connect and talk.
Don’t give up! It is a long but worthy road to travel! I would love to hear where you are at in your family life. Leave me a comment below!
Many blessings and much love,