I am right in the middle of what September wrote about a last week….that emotional roller coaster between tutus and wedding dresses. And honestly, these years can leave a momma scratching her head, burying her face in a pillow and hitting her knees. And, while I expect my girls to respect me, I realize that there is room for me to grow in respecting them.
I forget that they are people, image-bearers of God, living inside those ever changing minds and bodies. And while I want compliance, because it makes my life easier, they want guidance, help and someone to process with. They want safety, stability and someone to give them the freedom to reach into the future independence they’re moving toward. And they want respect too.
Because their opinions do matter. Because their thoughts are insightful. Because they spend countless hours obeying, listening and working on their behavior. Because they work hard to be better…at everything they do. They deserve my respect too.
Do we show our kids that we really respect them? I know I have failed at this countless times.
Do I get their permission before hitting post?
Do I let them give me an opposing position on an issue, without shooting them down immediately?
Do I stop, look at them and really listen?
Do I give them some freedom to make decisions, or do I doubt their ability to do so?
Do I try to change them and conform them into what I feel they should be, or do I let them live out who God has created them to be?
I know we need to set boundaries for our kids. I know that they are not grown-ups yet. I know that we need to act like adults and play our role. But, I also know that they are humans, created in the image of God. And one day they will be out in the world living, making decisions and bearing witness to the God that they serve….without me there to edit, redirect or fix. Knowing that makes me want to show my girls that I respect them, that I see them. I want them to know that I see the hard work they are putting into growing, and learning and dealing with life’s challenges.
So, yes, I want my girls to respect me. I want them to respect their dad. I want them to respect one another. I want them to go out into the world, acting respectfully to teachers, friends, and strangers on the street. And, I want them to do so, knowing that they too are respected, noticed, valued and worthy.