Parenting

Feeling Loved

Along the way, I learned that my sons did not feel the love I thought I was showing.

When the children were young, I read The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. One night at dinner, our family discussed the languages—gifts, physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time. My sons identified their love languages, which were consistent with my observations.

Armed with new information and a desire to implement it, my sons still didn’t feel loved at times. Why?

The acts of service I performed were what I would have wanted as a child. I gave the words of affirmation I wanted to hear as a child. (See Their Longings, Not Yours here.)

More importantly, my desire for my children to know they were loved kept slipping down the list while my desire to train them for their future kept creeping back to the top. The necessities of daily living and culture wars re-enforced this tendency.

My peers and I feared our children being unprepared for their future adult challenges. We should have feared the consequences of them feeling unloved.

Is your love being felt?

Family, Friendship, Parenting

As Much As You Are Loved

“You are not behaving like someone who is loved as much as you are loved.”

After my boys were in college, I heard this response to a child’s behavior. I forgot the source, but not the sentence.

Along the way, I decided that while the sentence is a powerful response to behavior, it is not helpful for change, unless followed by a second question. “Why?”

Why do people, especially our children, not behave like someone who is loved as much as they are loved? I have pondered that even more as grown children express their frustrations. I have two answers

We are either not showing love or they are not feeling the love we are showing. I suspect the latter most often.

Are you feeling loved?

Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Allowing Space to Grow

I dislike gaps in my flower beds. Therefore, I never planted my marigold seedlings the recommended distance apart—eight to ten inches for French marigolds and a full twelve inches for African marigolds.  I learned the error of my ways when I passed marigolds beside a city sidewalk. One seedling had grown into a small bush. I checked. One stalk.

Room to thrive. September 2019

Disliking gaps—especially while raising children—my husband and I crowded activities into our lives the same way I jammed marigolds into the small, soil patch at the top of our driveway.

Some academic years, I added too many subjects. I assured my husband I would find a way to make everything fit. I never did.

I wish I had known how much space was realistically needed for my flowers and my family and myself.

I enjoyed a variety of little blooms, but when I desired deep roots and tall flowers, I should have given more space—more than I imagined.

How many inches do you need this academic year?

Family, Parenting

Daily Faithfulness

Her children rise up and call her blessed: … Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

Proverbs 31:28-29
Mollie 1983

My step-grandmother—the Mollie who inspired my pseudonym—was born this day 120 years ago. This photograph shows her essence.

Mollie only went through fifth grade because she was needed at home to cook, clean, and watch siblings. She became a stepmother to three rowdy boys before she had her own daughter. One uncle repeatedly said she saved his life with her counsel and love.

My father and his brothers with Mollie (top left) c. 1936

My father took his last Navy paycheck to buy his mother an electric stove to replace her wood-burning one. She wept.

My father with Mollie

Mollie did not play with grandchildren, and she was too poor to buy presents. However, she gave us much more with her godly example and love and stories and laughter.

When my grandmother passed, there were so many orders for flowers that one local florist called a distant city for help. My favorite tribute?

Mollie never did anything big according to worldly standards. However, she did the small things daily, and daily faithfulness is harder.”

Basics, Friendship, Parenting

Transparency Makes a Difference

Transparency takes courage, but it changes everything. I vividly remember a homeschool prayer breakfast where I learned this truth.

After listening to a beloved supporter of our group encourage us in raising our children in accordance with Scripture, our leader asked for prayer requests. Usually, we shared about children struggling with reading or learning math facts, wisdom in ordering our day, last minute curriculum decisions, dealing with those who opposed our homeschooling, or husbands’ work schedules.

Our speaker jumped in first. She poured out her heart about a matter that was deeply troubling her. She listed her questions, her fears, and her doubts. As an older and wiser woman, she had just given us advice, but she was not afraid of being transparent. She understood she had no merit apart from Christ’s sacrifice. She was equal to us in needing and relying on the grace of God alone.

Our speaker’s transparency—and vulnerability—changed the direction of our meeting. We eagerly followed her example and openly talked about—and then prayed for—the concerns that were most heavy on our hearts. We were different when we left.

Has someone’s transparency helped you?

PS Thank you J’aime.