Last night we got to have some really good family time before bed. We always pray as a family before bed, and sometimes we watch a movie, sing songs, or read a book - it just depends on how busy the day has been. Last night, the kids came downstairs to pray with us before bed. The youngest was sitting on my lap while the other two were on the couch with Daddy.
The girls' birthdays are both in August - so we were talking to them about what kind of cake they wanted and what they might want for a present. As they both talked, I realized how much they are growing up - but how much fun they are as they grow. We were all just sitting in the living room laughing at what was being said, and there was a moment where I looked at my husband and thought -- "this is one of those moments that you are so thankful to have, and that you don't want to end." I let them stay up a little later because it was so nice.
When children are younger, most of what you have to tell them is either "I love you" or "No!!! . . . I'm telling you this because I love you." As they are getting older, you get to have conversations about what they are thinking and feeling and the kinds of things they like and dislike. It is amazing to me the things they remember and the things that they come up with on their own. Although I am so excited about it being easier to communicate with my children - I am also sad because they are growing up so fast.
Because our children do grow up so fast, we have to be sure that we are communicating the right things to them when they are young, so that they will stick with them as they get older. A teacher friend of mine talks about how she always talked "over her kids' heads" when they were younger - but they grew up with a great vocabulary. I agree with that. Many times, parents wait to talk to their children about important things, because they don't think they are old enough to understand . . . but we often give our children too LITTLE credit. I have learned that sometimes they understand better than we do.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (The Message Translation) says, "Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities so that you'll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth."
Every time we are with our children - it is a learning opportunity, for them . . . and for us. So we need to seek out these 'teachable moments', especially when they are younger and more willing to listen to what we have to say. Use a walk outside to talk about the glory of God and his creation, use a celebratory dinner to talk about the things that we have and why we should be thankful for them, use night time prayers to pray for those who may not have a family or a home, and use those beautiful long kid hugs (that parents LIVE for) to talk about how much they are loved, and that God loves us infinitely more than that!
So yes - time is flying as my kids are growing way too fast . . . and it gives me a sense of urgency to ensure that they know how much they are loved . . . how much we all are loved . . . and because of that, how much we need to love.
Don't wait . . . believe me . . . they will understand.
Have a great weekend,