You guys, I just got back from spending a day listening to Curt Thompson. I actually can’t say that at this stage of the year I have loads of extra margin I’m willing to hand over (IT’S MAY), but when I heard he was coming to Omaha, and the chance to go listen to him dropped in my lap I couldn’t miss the chance. So much of what he has to say is for counseling professionals, but as a mom, I couldn’t help but consider my kids as I listened. So, here are a few of the points of reflection I’m still mulling over — maybe you’ll find them helpful too.
What I’m Still Thinking About
- I want to see and say what I see in my kids what they can’t see for themselves until their imaginations can catch up. It’s easy for us to associate our faults with who we are, but as parents, if we can look at our children in the midst of their flaws and call out beauty… it’s possible they eventually can too. And that’s tremendous when it comes to coping with hard moments or even failures. How many of us are inclined to run towards brokenness? Let’s not let our kids learn to turn away from us when shame pulls at them, but to look at their faces and let them see us adore the beauty we see. Curt says this: “beauty emerges as a direct response of someone seeing it as such.”
- Kids need a home not with perfect parents, but parents who allow for the repairing of ruptures. If kids who are seen, soothed, and safe, will then exercise their security by heading confidently into new territory … then expect curiosity, and be the safe place for them to come back to when they fail. Let’s be a safe place to launch from into new places. Creating and curating goodness and beauty is part of our purpose, and it requires great risk and great vulnerability. Our kids are well served when they can circle back and be seen and soothed when they need it.
- As much as we need our people as moms, our kids need people too. They can do a lot of hard things for a long time alongside others. So, if I am going to ask them to do hard things (and they can do hard things), make sure it’s not alone. #teamtaylor is a really good start, but a solid prompt to find peers who are willing to collaborate and encourage and do life with is pretty essential to becoming thriving adults who are willing to take risks and do some adventuring.
- Perception can be coached. Perceiving that we are overwhelmed by an event, and that we can’t regulate it, is how trauma is defined. Trauma in some degree will affect us all, but we can demonstrate regulation. We can demonstrate if a scraped knee is an overwhelming event, or something that can be easily managed. I think that if we are believers in Jesus, we will still endure and persevere through wide ranges of trauma — suffering is part of being human. And this shouldn’t diminish the need for lament or grief, but it can be a place where truth can be told, and hope can be restored. (My interpretation of Curt’s teaching).
- We become what we pay attention to. We are a people who mimic. Even what we desire stems from what we see someone else says is valuable. So if I want my people to avoid envy, and if I want my people to claim peace that comes with contentedness, then they must be pointed most frequently to Jesus. The one ultimately worthy of mimicking because his values point to life and contentedness.
What do you want for your people? As a mom, what are you hoping to harvest?
You guys, I’m an imperfect mom, and I have imperfect kids, and while we’re on this road of becoming more and more like the people God designed us to be, I want us to love each other well. I want my kids to sense my delight in them, my desire for their hearts to be known even as I say no, or discipline, or coach their behaviors. I want my teenagers to run home when they fail and for them to look at one another and root for each other as they linger over what is good and beautiful. So let’s be a people who look produce beauty and goodness, who delight in our people, and who beg for the Lord to have his way with us. We live the best version of our lives with him in the middle of it, so let’s invite our kids into that journey and rush out into a world where when ruptures happen, they know who they are and who’s they are. Let’s be a people firmly planted even as we watch our seedlings of beauty grow up into the oaks they were meant to be.