"What did you value the most about your childhood?"
I’m sure we can all immediately think of a few answers to that question. It's a question that I've wondered how my son will answer when he grows up, and it’s a question that I’ve been asked as an adult. It can mold the way we parent and the decisions we make for our children.
I was recently listening to a podcast by a popular Christian leader that I follow. She was doing a panel discussion with her three sons on being a mom of Godly men. This question--and their answers--changed the way that I'm approaching parenting.
You see, I thought this woman’s sons would say that they valued the many trips that they took overseas, the big house or the big yard, or the extravagant vacations. But, all of her sons said the same thing. What they valued was the simple--the family dinners where they all sat down and recapped their day, the times where their mom was getting ready for bed and they were just hanging out with her and talking through their problems or dreams, the times where their mom and dad made daily simple investments into them.
As a new parent, this blew my mind. I want to give my son the best of the best; we all want that for our children! I want him to travel the world, to experience new things, and to live life to the fullest. I want him to say that he remembers his childhood as being fun, exciting, and extravagant. However, what moments will he place the most value on? What moments will shape him?
He's going to value the times that his dad took five minutes to wrestle with him and make him laugh before going to work for the day; he's going to remember the times that I stopped working and got down on the floor to play with him. He's going to value the family dinners or the Friday night movie nights on the couch or the nights where we read him a Bible story while he’s falling asleep. He's going to remember the simple investments that we make daily into him!
Sometimes, what I place value on or what I think will hold the most value is not actually what carries the most weight. I want my son to know that we love him and truly care about his dreams and calling. I want him to know that--above all else--he is loved and is safe with us. That is where I want to place value.
When I try to live up to what kind of mom I'm supposed to be in my mind--or in the minds of others--I always fall short. I'll always feel like I'm not doing enough or giving enough value to his life. But, when I take daily moments to focus on him and what he likes and wants to do--which is climbing on everything right now and putting everything in his mouth--I will give value to him and his calling. When I choose to invest into the simple moments, that is where he will begin to grow and step into what God has for him.
Take the time today to invest in the simple. Laugh together, play a silly game, or stop for a moment to just give your child a hug and say, “I love you”! Don't worry if you can't take them to Europe this summer to study a different language--invest in today; invest in the simple! Invest in the moments, and see how your children and their dreams flourish!