Change can be hard but change is apart of life. Too often we spend a lot of energy trying to resist the change and we miss out on the positive things that comes with change. One of the hardest things to do is to EMBRACE CHANGE!
Since the start of our family I was determined to have vacations that gave my kids memories that they would tell their kids about. Twenty years later I can say I feel that has been accomplished. Vacations have been a staple in the Neal family. Though we had a blast this past week it was different than all the others. Our oldest son was not with us and our youngest son turns 21 in a couple of months. Our family is entering into a new phase and vacations will not look the same. We have so many great memories but can’t wait to support our kids as they launch out into their future. We are so blessed that our kids have remained close to us the older they have become. We can’t wait to create new rhythms and have a front row seat as they grow in grace and reach their full potential. We are thankful for the season God gave us and we can’t wait for the new season to come. We choose to embrace change and look with anticipation and what is to come! Here are a couple of thoughts
Remember the past but celebrate the future
I have heard celebrate the past and look to the future but when it comes to your family and especially with your children remember your past but celebrate was is to come. Let them know how excited you are about what they will become and what God would lead them into in this next season. Words matter and affirmation about them wanting to leave and wanting be successful in their future is important. If you hold on to the past and talk about the best days being behind you as a family you are sending several messages to your children. Our past as a family was great but this season with my children is even greater and I am excited to see them flourish and be successful in the next phase of their life.
Listening is the new parenting
A couple of years ago I realized that if I wanted a seat at my children’s table in their teen years and beyond I have to be a better listener than a talker. This philosophy has not failed me. When I validate their feelings and let them share things they might want to do that scares me to death but I stay silent it makes them feel safe. I have heard people say in the season I am in with my kids my role is a coach. Well, the best coaches listen and give advice when asked. I will always speak up if I feel my kids are going to be harmed but when it comes to them dreaming and talking I want to be on the front row of their life cheering them on.
Let them fail
Some of the biggest regrets of being a parent when I look back is the fact that I stepped in when I should have let them fail. Failure is apart of life. I am a protector by nature and I will hurt you over my daughter. Just Kidding but I am not kidding.
My protective nature has stepped in some times with good intentions to protect but it has caused more harm then good. As hard as it is sometimes I have had to let my children figure some things out. Even when it comes to God. I am not the answer to life God is and He wants a relationship with them and if I step in everytime I am hurting them seeing and depending on their Heavenly Father. Some of my best parenting moments is letting them fail and figure it out while I stick closely by them.
In the middle of typing this one of my kids is texting me trying to figure something out. I wanted so badly to tell them what I believe the answer was but instead I told them I am confident they will figure it out. Repeat after me….I am not the answer to my children’s life but God is. Love them, warn them when you can, but let them start figuring out who they are and who God is in their life. While they are working through it my job is the be the biggest cheerleader they have!
Learn to trust God with your children and learn to trust your children. God loves my children even more than I do and that is hard to fathom. I have to relinquish control and trust God with their lives. I have to change my role and even my seat at the table and trust my children. It may look different than you thought. That dream you had might have been your dream but not your kids.
The best thing I can do for my children is invest in my marriage or if single invest in your life after kids
I realize a couple of years ago this bums called my children were going to leave me. This is natural and the way it is suppose to be. We should be parenting our children to leave our homes and go out and be world changers. I have seen so many marriages implode because their commonality was their children. They did not invest in their marriage relationship. The best example you can give your children is a healthy you. If you are in a marriage relationship show you children sacrifice, service, compromising, and unconditional love. They will carry that way more than any speech you give them. If you are single please know that taking care of yourself is a must. Don’t settle for anything less in a new relationship and show your children what self care looks like. Your identity being wrapped up in your kids is not what God intended. The best days are not only ahead for your children when they leave your home but the best days are ahead for you!
We are still figuring this out and are not perfect by any means. But I will tell you we are enjoying this season with adult children and teens. We are drawing closer not further apart and I praise God for that. I believe you can experience that too. If you are not dont give up. He is a redemptive God and love you and your children. Wait on Him and trust Him.