So much of the early years of parenting is about survival--our own sanity and the very lives of our fragile, innocent children. Our primary roles are feeding, sheltering, protecting. Of course these are vital functions of parents of minor children, but as our trio ages our role is shifting. They now understand most of the basic physical hazards of the world like hot stoves, parking lots, medicine bottles, guns, bodies of water, inappropriate touch, etc...
As we move into double digits I am realizing it's the intangible dangers they can finally start to understand. My children have an amazing relationship with each other considering the sheer amount of time they have to spend together between church, school and home. But at the end of the day, they are still siblings...with immature 9 year old emotions...and sinful natures.
It's interesting having same aged children because there isn't a true 'birth order' (or pecking order as it tends to be in sibling groups). And yet, personalities as they are and budding tween emotions have started to make tone, patience and 'picking' more of a topic.
This morning as an insignificant spat started to lead to tears I started thinking about how I really want the tone of our home to be peace, acceptance and rest. Searching for a way to make a meaningful connection for the kids, I had a metaphor (my second language).
I asked them to think about how important their chargers were for their handheld devices. After a long trip or at the end of the day, they rush to get their DSi, Wii U tablet, ipods plugged in. It's almost a desperate dash sometimes when the red lights start flashing.
I explained that our home is the charging mechanism for their hearts. Of course, the Lord is our power source--but home and family are the mechanism He uses.
This world can be draining. After a long day what we all want is to come home, to exhale in the safety of this place and to get our batteries recharged and our hearts and souls filled back up to 100% before we head back out to take on the next day.
And, my friends, my little tech loving 9 year olds seemed to get it! I am looking forward to using this language as a reminder instead of having to always preach a lecture. :-) Are you charging or draining right now? And in fairness, it's a question I should get a little better about asking myself.
Charging is essential to keep a device functioning. The love and security of home and family are meant to serve in this way.
Of course they are still 9 and our hearts are still constantly growing and changing...but our conversation was a start. And that is worth celebrating!