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