Open Hands and Willing Hearts - A Dad's Reflection

in Home Edders3 months ago

My wife is an incredible woman - funny, attractive, attentive, caring, and the list goes on. I am a blessed man! Although you have never received the blessing of meeting her face-to-face, I hope that when I mentioned her in my posts, you can get a glimpse of who she is.

Her spirituality is one of many things that I am attracted to. Faith is important to her. It is important to us. Last night, in a prayer, she voiced the following: open hands and willing hearts

She was talking about how she wanted our family to be aware of the needs of others during this holiday season, but as I have pondered her words, I think that there is a great lesson that parents can glean as well.


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Image by skalekar1992 from Pixabay

Open Hands

Both love and anger can be conveyed from the hands (and arms) of a parent.

Little Man still stands at my feet and extends his hands high into the air. That is his way of saying, "pick me up, daddy!" I grab him tight and pull him in close. We play our silly games for a moment or two and then he wants to be free to run around the house. Little Man is in a constant ebb and flow being in someone arms. He wants to feel love and protection, and then without notice he wants down so that he can explore the world on his own.

Almost all of my girls will come up to me at some point in the day, nestle close to me, so that we can exchange hugs. I hope they always feel warmth and love exuding from my arms. But after a few moments, we release our embrace. As we keep looking for new opportunities to hug, we flow in and out of this familial state of embrace.

In contrast, clinched hands and and folded arms are not able to receive. When our hands are opened, we are able to receive tremendous (and sometime unexpected) blessings. But the interesting thing about receiving hands (open hands) is that they also tend to be giving and sending hands.

I receive my children into my arms at this time in their life to prepare them for a time when I will launch them from my wife and I's "human nest." They will always be my children, which means that they are always welcome in my arms. But I have a responsibility to prepare them to live out their future to the fullest. Their lives bring me great joy, but I cannot selfishly hold on to them with closed arms. That would be suffocating and harmful. I have to be willing to let them leave my open arms.

Willing Heart


Without a willing heart, it is hard to have open hands. So much of WHAT we do is guided by WHO we are. By studying someone, you will quickly know whether or not her or she has a willing heart. And don't forget, where the heart leads, the actions following.

As a parent, am I willing to ...

  • experience temporary discomfort for the sake of my child, especially when my child is causing the discomfort 😀?
  • give up "my time" to bless my family and bless others?
  • set aside my wants to meet someone else's needs, especially people who live under my roof?
  • have arms that are open 24/7?
  • stop for a moment to watch a mini dance recital, view the latest drawing, or throw a ball around?
  • talk about hard things even when my brain is tired from being at work?
  • be disciplined in my own choices so that I can be example for my loved ones?
  • invest deeply in today so that my children are ready for their tomorrow?

I was challenged many years ago by a phrase similar to this one.
"The primary job of a parent is to equip a child to be ready of their future life."

I am working on making sure that my heart is willing and that my actions follow!

Final Thoughts


Although it is not time for my kiddos to leave our nest, there will be a day when I will let them go (with a smile and perhaps a tear).

I want them to be so equipped that they are ready to leave, but so loved that they always want to come back (but only to visit). 😀

Parents, let us keep opening our hands and our hearts to our kiddos. What a blessing they are! And what a blessing they can be.

  1. What is one thing that every child should learn before leaving their parents' home?
  2. When you think of your children moving out, what thoughts or feeling do you experience?

@SumatraNate

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Ah what a nice post here! I love that you are always open to your kids to give them an embrace if they need it, that's very important! Our son is the same as your little man, he's always looking for an embrace. I think it's his way of reaffirming affection. We see close friends of ours and their daughter doesn't sit with them, play with them and only really occupies the same room to play. We find it sad that the dynamic is like that for them.

One of us still falls asleep with him every night and he always falls asleep snuggled up against us. Some may disagree with what we've decided but that's okay, we do what works for us and I think it's developed a much stronger bond between us all.

When the time comes for our son to leave our house, the many years in the future that it is, it will definitely be sadness in some regards, at least thinking about it now. We just hope that we prepare him enough to be confident on his own and be able to handle himself in a respectful way.

Parenting (like many things in life) has this interesting twist of both right now and in the future. It is such a wild ride to think that the time, effort, and love we show our kiddos now are molding their future versions.

My oldest is 13. I can tell that she wants more personal time, but we still desire to engage deeply in family time.

We just hope that we prepare him enough to be confident on his own and be able to handle himself in a respectful way.

This is key. Confidence is an internal attitude. Being respectful is outward focused (focused on others). Sounds like you are on a good path.

Yeah, it's pretty wild to see what we did months ago comes out and impacts things he is doing now. We definitely try to be cognizant of that as much as possible!

Ah, teenage years. I don't look forward to that sometimes lol but in other ways I do. The hormones though, one can do without interacting with!

I like to hope we are on the right path with the little man, he has his moments but all kids do. He will randomly pull out very sweet moments though and I think those are so genuine it's great!

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Our job as parents is to make our children ready and prepared to a life where we are not there, yet we all know that as parents we will always be there for them. But we should also stop ourselves from always catching their fall because they need to learn to stand up on their own. It's tough finding that balance as parents because we're parents. Haha.

But we should also stop ourselves from always catching their fall because they need to learn to stand up on their own.

So true. I never want to see my children hurt or be uncomfortable when they are being challenged, but there is a lot to learn in the moments when you are finding a way to stand back up.

tough finding that balance

It is indeed tough.

Absolutely, failure is one of the best ways and often the only way to learn, I think. People who never experience failure don't know what it is like. Success is great but you often learn the most from a situation where it arose from a filure.

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