At my mentor’s 60th birthday party a couple years ago, her husband asked the small group of her close friends gathered around her in their living room to go around the circle and say something memorable about her.
Most were her peers, so my husband and I gleaned a lot of wisdom from those precious moments they shared, but one in particular stood out to us as younger parents…
One of her friends mentioned that in her daughter’s difficult teen years when she just couldn’t seem to get her daughter to listen to her, she was glad her ‘little girl’ had Jackie to turn to as a safe ear.
This was a HUGE wake up call to us.
Though our kids were nowhere near their teen years at the time, it planted a seed for us to start intentionally placing those relationships in their lives where, if they ever felt uncomfortable coming to us with deep and/or controversial topics, they had someone we trusted to turn to.
In a day and age where our kids are more likely to turn to friends and even internet stars for advice, we must ask the question, “Who will they turn to?”.
Kids will turn to whoever accepts them (don’t we all at some point in our lives?). If they don’t learn for themselves that God is the one waiting to accept them with open arms, they will run to whoever will.
In his devotional for teens, “One God, One Plan, One Life”, Max Lucado says:
Don’t we all yearn to be loved and accepted? To belong? So many messages tell us we don’t. We get cut from the basketball team. Dropped from the honor roll. Left off the sleepover list. Everything from acne to anorexia leaves us feeling like the kid with no date to the prom…
We try to say the right things, get the right look, hang with the right people. We try to fit in. All of it is a way of asking the burning question in our hearts: “Do I belong?”
God has an answer. His grace – outrageous, overflowing, stretching beyond the stars and back again – is the definitive reply. “Be blessed, my child. I love you. I accept you. I have adopted you into my family.”
Adopted children are chosen children.
The question is, do your children recognize they are adopted by 1. God himself and 2. a chosen family of close friends? When you surround your children with love they internalize, they will never lack for wise and loving council, even if it doesn’t come from you, their parent.
Who have you intentionally placed in your children’s lives for them to feel safe to turn to in times of need?