One of my all-time favorite movies is DreamWorks Animation’s Bee Movie! I love everything about the film because it’s not only entertaining and informative – but it’s also so relatable! It is chocked full of so many “life lessons” and values that can be applied to our lives, including – hard work, tenacity, legacy, compassion, teamwork, confidence, curiosity, giving back, and so much more!
Like the bees in the movie, it seems like as moms we’re always busy - moving at the speed of light. By His grace, we arise each morning and jump into our daily routines. We’re off and running – with things to do, places to go, people to tend to. As moms, it’s a never-ending cycle! If we’re lucky and time permits, we get to squeeze in some quality time for ourselves. We’re often juggling the demands of the home and sometimes the workplace to make sure that everything is in order in our lives and in the lives of those around us. And even when our own emotional or physical cups are running low or on empty, we “show up” for our loved ones. We're busy - getting stuff done!!
What we're probably not focused on is how fast time is flying by - right before our very eyes. I get tickled every time I recall the graduation scene in the movie – the "big day" - how quickly it came and was over in an instant. Literally - if you blink, you'll miss it! It reminds me of our motherhood journey – how one day we’re holding our newborns – then the next day our “babies” are starting kindergarten – then entering middle, then walking across the stage graduating from high school!
If the global pandemic has taught us nothing else, it's taught us that life is short. Shorter than we think. That's why we mush cherish the gift of today!
Sometimes we're so busy - so “scheduled” – that we operate on autopilot! Now, more than ever, we must embrace our children because they won’t be small forever. Right now, they need us! Let’s show up for them consistently. Everything and everybody else can wait!
Blink and You’ll Miss It!
It goes without saying that since we have just a short window of time to mold our children’s values, we must make the most out of the life that God has given us! This requires that we not move so fast that we miss milestones along their childhood journey. While we may think we have plenty of time with them – to raise them, to influence them, to love on them - the fact is that we don’t. In the blink of an eye, they’ll be adults – and what we plant in them will bloom! We must use as many opportunities as we can as teachable moments. What matters most is not the quantity - but the quality of the time spent we spend with them and how we use the time we have with them.
Listen to Your Children
Yes, we’re busy, but … we should never be so scheduled that we cannot stop what we’re doing to take time for our children. All children are unique, so bonding and connecting with them must also be individualized based on who they are, what they need, and how they receive love. We should be intentional about “listening to them.” When they’re in distress or need help, they verbalize that, and we immediately tend to then. These are the cause-and-effect moments. But sometimes we need to listen to them in other ways – and respond to their needs without them asking. (The reality is that sometimes our kids are craving something but do not know how to verbalize it – be it some attention, quality time, a hug, affirmation, encouragement, or something similar.) These times require us to be in tune with our children. We must observe them. Listen to them. Ask them questions. Play with them. THEN – carve out time every single day to check-in with them and meet them where they are.
Get to Really Know Your Children As Individuals
Throughout your motherhood journey, it’s important to consistently acknowledge and build up your children. Find ways to celebrate the for small accomplishments based on their own measurements (not compared to their siblings or friends – or even statistics). Applaud them for reaching new milestones - regardless of how big or small. Celebrate them for their consistency and tenacity. Reward them for accomplishments. Check out what they’re watching on television or on social media. Ask them about their days. Talk to them about random (age-appropriate things). Share conversations about their dreams. Watch for nonverbal signs of angst and red flags. Find ways to create bonding moments and memories with them every day!
For babies, that’s a no brainer – the snuggles come easy and often – and are necessary! For toddlers, it might look like getting down on our knees and playing a game with them! For an older child, it may be playing outside or going on a nature walk. And for teens, it might be talking about real life issues, dreams and concerns.
Train Them Up In the Way of The Lord
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 that we should "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." As Christians, our guidance couldn’t be more clear! We are to introduce our children to Christian values during their early formative years – when they are most innocent, most pure, and most unblemished by the world around them. This includes teaching them about God and our Savior, King Jesus! It means teaching them how to pray (and praying with them, for them and over them). It requires introducing them to reading the Bible and incorporating Biblical principals in their lives. It means serving as role models for our kids. So while we have no control which paths our children may ultimately follow as they get older, we know that we’ve heeded God’s word in setting a strong foundation for them.
Remember - each day the window narrows to parent your child. They grow up fast - so make the most of the opportunity while you can. Enjoy them while they're young!