Show Intentional Love
Being a parent is hectic. Many days it feels like I am waking up just in time to go back to sleep, going to sleep just in time to wake and do it all, again. Don't let your Little get lost in the shuffle. It is my belief that they should be raised with love and discipline. Be intentional with both! Know when to say "no" and when to allow a little extra. Here are a few suggestions on how to show some intentional love:
- Journal - Since before Lark was born I've been keeping a few journals. I have 3 total (I think). I do not write in them routinely. You can. I am sporadic, at best, with these books. I do not write in any specific journal for any specific thing. I have one journal in the living room, one journal in the bedroom & another somewhere else (I told you... not routine, sporadic, at best!). I picked up one of the journals today & jotted a message to my girl, noticing the previous entry was May of last year! And that's ok, because in between then and now I've written a few messages in the other journals. Plus, years from now they will be full of other, genuine memories & letters. The idea is, don't write every single thing, but write the important things. Write the little things that stand out, because those are unique to you. Be intentional to jot down advice, memories & love when it strikes you. You do not have to be an eloquent writer. But trust me, your angel(s) will have a beautiful story written just for them when it's all said and done.
- Put Your Phone Down - I, like the rest of the world, love to capture my baby girl on camera! I post frequently on my Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat, marking the cutest dance moves & glimpses of personality emerging. Life is a celebration & social media needs some happiness, right? But every so often, put the phone down. Soak up the look in their eyes as they're learning something new. Look at them and let them know that regardless of anyone else, Momma is watching & Momma is proud. Our babies need the one-on-one, human interaction more than "likes". And if you're worried about not capturing every special memory on camera: it won't be the first time. Many generations before us had little more to capture memories than pen & paper or their mind's eye. So, start that journal, I just told you about. Share your heart with your baby in more ways than social media posts!
- Know Who They Are - "He's my son. Of course I know who he is," you say. Yes, yes, I know! What I mean is: Watch for how his personality grows. Pay attention to what works and doesn't work when disciplining him. Don't just follow what your parents did with you or what the latest best sellers suggest in parenting tips. Understand that what worked for you may not be the best method for him. Ask God to guide you in raising your children. Also, one of my favorite prayers to pray over Lark (my Little) is "God, help me to recognize her gifts and talents. Help me to grow and encourage these abilities to the best of my ability." And you know what? She is just nearing 2 years old and I already see how sensitive she is to the needs of others, noticing and consoling when people/kids are upset. She also loves to dance more than most kids her age. Guess who will be starting dance lessons, soon? Really try to know your kids and be a good steward of their precious lives!
- Do Things - When you think back to your memories as a child do you remember things? Or do you remember doing things? My most treasured memories involve action. Making memories does not have to be elaborate. If you don't have a lot of extra money or time, be intentional about making it happen. Find a local park & take 2 hours out of your weekend to enjoy sunshine and play with your kids. Build a blanket fort in the living room and have an indoor picnic. Something I've started with my baby? Shadow puppets! She is fascinated by them. Our hands tell stories with shadows at least two nights a week at bedtime. Read a book or pull out some paints. Just have fun and do something.
These are just a few ideas. If you have any other ideas that have worked for you, please share in the comments below! In a society that is very intentionally advertising to, targeting & persuading our kids, it is extremely important that we not be passive in doing our job as parents. Keep loving your Little (on purpose)!