One momma wrote me tonight to tell me about a sweet and silly conversation she had with her adorable three-year-old before bed. As she asked him what his favorite part of the day was, and he answered “macaroni and cheese,” she snuggled in and began to ask how she could pray for him. That little darling went on and on about all kinds of things. Nothing very deep or masterful about his desires to grow in an everlasting relationship with the Creator of the universe…I mean, this kid is a genius, but he is ONLY 3! I submit something way more important was happening.
This little guy was opening up to his mom. A mom who took the time to ask questions and listen to the seemingly silly and meaningless ramblings of a tired three-year-old.
And one day, he won’t be three anymore. He will be 13. And since I know this momma is wise, she will still be there, bedside late at night, talking with this exhausted middle schooler. Over the years of discussing macaroni and cheese and the neighbor’s dog, he will have begun to open up to her about the struggles he is having with friends. Or those beautiful, frightening creatures called girls. She will have won his heart and his trust with listening to hours of mundane things so that when the time comes for the important issues, she will have proven herself trustworthy and caring.
And at 19, he’ll call late at night from college. He will have learned she is a safe place to go to. He’ll know she’s up late at night anyhow, because even his last year of high school she was always there to listen to him ramble on into the wee hours of the morning. His questions and the challenges he faces are now life altering decisions, but he will know where to go with every issue.
Moms and Dads: The last few minutes before bed are when the child’s heart is most vulnerable…tuck them in…every night. Speak your prayers and hopes for them out loud over them while you swipe the hair from their forehead. Tell them they are beautiful, precious, loved, handsome, and the most important thing under your roof. Watch their eyes sparkle and their hearts open wide to share with you their secret hopes and dreams. Develop that trust so that they KEEP coming to you and talking over the things that trouble them. My oldest is 20 and I STILL tuck her in every night! And sometimes those last conversations of the day run late into the night…but the most important thing is–we ARE TALKING things through. How many parents complain their children won’t open up, won’t talk? Teaching your children to trust you and open up to you is a day-by-day process that happens one goodnight kiss at a time.