Monday, February 2, 2015

raising brave and vulnerable children

The Super Bowl was on in the living room and I was folding laundry in my bedroom. One sheepish child tiptoed in and slid into my bed.

He was hiding undercover. No words were spoken.

I asked what was going on. I smiled and chatted and it was like talking to a brick wall.

Something was wrong, but he was too embarrassed to say it out loud.

Little souls have troubles of their own, and they want to run to mama, but even then they may hide the truth.

Gently, I told him I wouldn't say another word until he was ready to tell me all about it.

Silent minutes passed and eventually he didn't just tell me, he showed me. He sat up, opened his heart, and let his mistake speak for itself.

I looked his error in the eye and I covered his wound with grace and love.

We've all been there. We all mess up. We have all felt the sting of embarrassment. We are all human and what we need most is to know we are not alone.

He made me promise not to tell anyone. I sealed my lips forever. But I did encourage his daddy to go check on him.

These boys need a mama and a daddy who understand. They need parents who mess up and tell the truth and hold their hands and make space for mercy to triumph.

If we pay attention and listen closely; if we are kind when they err; if we admit our own failure and forgive others and ourselves well; if we love with tender truth; our homes will become safe places and our children will be truth tellers who are not afraid to be vulnerable.

We all sat together and watched the last quarter of the football game. The laundry was folded, the forgiveness was fresh, and there was peace in our house.

In the end, I scooped up my giant boy-man and carried him to his room. These days I can barely heave him up the stairs on my back, even though once-upon-a-time he fit in the crook of my arm or sat securely on my hip. Last night might have been the last time I am able to bear the weight of his whole self.

But I will always carry him in one way or another, even when he is strong enough to carry me. Because I am the one he ran to, the one he needed, the one he trusted with his fears and failures.

Vulnerable love is a gift that is not lost on my soul, and this morning all I feel is gratitude for the One who has given it.

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