Yesterday afternoon my friend Lauren sent a post to me that was both timely and challenging. The subject of this particular piece by Andy Stanley was 'mutual submission' within the family and the powerful bonds that come from serving one another in love. I've considered all of this in marriage, but frankly, never thought about it specifically relating to our children as well.
As my children grow older and my time with them becomes more scarce, I feel a renewed sense of insuring that the atmosphere and attitude in my home is one that fills them up and trains them for the world in which they live. Partially out of necessity and also as a result of the way my parents raised me, I have long valued teaching my children how to do things for themselves.
I have worked so hard over the years to raise children who are capable, responsible and independent that I fear sometimes I've gotten a little out of balance. Some of this has been driven by necessity--triplets = three against one...Mama needed people to learn how to do some things for themselves. Honestly, it was also about my pride of 'not being a slave' and my fear of raising entitled children who believe everyone is here to meet their needs. Clearly, pride and fear are not what I want to shape my parenting strategies.
Many years ago a counselor suggested to me that I had categorized people/relationships as either independent or codependent. He cautioned that by doing so I had missed the wide and wonderful category of interdependence--loving and serving one another--that characterized the body of Christ. He was right...and apparently in parenthood I have started to fall into that trap again.
I want to model an attitude of service to them. And while my husband & I have made this a priority to people outside our home--I haven't specifically targeted this lesson inside our home.
Perhaps this is why Andy's words were so convicting:
"The message of mutual submission is, I’m here for you. The assumption of mutual submission is, You are of no less value than me. The question mutual submission asks is, What can I do to help?"
"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." Ephesians 5:21
Last night, inspired by these thoughts, I issued a challenge to each member of our family: Find two times each day you can ask this question to another member of our family: "What can I do for you?"
Because my personal craftiness consists of sticky notes and Sharpies, I jotted the phrase down and attached it to a canvas my uber crafty friend, Cabell had given me months ago. Sitting in my kitchen window, this is a perfect combo and God-honoring daily challenge!
Over coffee this morning I was already worrying that my children will try to pull a "Do my homework" answer out to test the boundaries of this new movement. You can imagine how my heart smiled when R walked up, put his arm around me and said: "What can I do for you, Mom?"
I pray this attitude will take root in our home--and grow legs that extend far beyond it.