The Learned Art of Awareness in Parenting

DAY 13, Five Minute Prompt: AWARE

from Flexibility and Feelings of Children [Click to read the full post.]

From any perspective, she has adjusted well. While she doesn’t often mention missing her grandparents or friends in America, she hasn’t been unaffected by boredom and loneliness. She even worries about everyone hating her, noting how the few kids she knows shoo her away with stuck out tongues.

These missionary and mommy worlds often collide, and my daughter is found in the debris. I can shield and protect her, keep her to myself, and never let her experience this country. Or I can allow these experiences, however painful, to shape and mold her into who God wants her to be.

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At that time, I had become aware that what we were doing wasn’t working. This awareness made me able to make some changes that lifted her spirits. I began spending more one-on-one time with her by allowing her to stay up a little later with mommy. We went on more walks around the neighborhood and tried to get out more.

I was able to enroll her in a nearby pre-school where she is the only foreign student. It is a joy to all of us to see her language taking off and her confidence booming as a result. [more on this decision: Pre-School on the Other Side of the Planet: A Mama’s Desperate Act ]

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It hadn’t just been boredom and loneliness. My sweet 3 year old had been hurting in big ways she didn’t understand. She didn’t know that she needed social interaction and sunlight, she just knew she was sad. I got sucked up in my schedule and missed an opportunity to really see her, pour into her, and love her back to life.

As busy moms, it is so easy to just check off the daily to-do-list and just barely make it to bed time and fail to check in with the hearts of our children. Sometimes there is more than just rebellion at the bottom of that explosive toddler tantrum or brooding teenager in the backseat.

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Awareness involves questions, quality time, and constant prayer. It alleviates unfounded worries and causes me to make change in areas where it is really needed.

Just like me, my children want to be known but may not always be able to express complicated emotions. The responsibility falls on me to study them and surrender their needs to Jesus.

My prayer is no different than last year: that we can point her to Christ, and that she will trust Him with her life. I ask God to make me aware to her needs and to give me wisdom to meet them.

Parenting is such an enormous responsibility, and, honestly, one I don’t feel overly qualified for. But there’s so much grace in my inadequacy. God meets me each day, giving me what I need for this most important ministry called motherhood.

My eyes and ears are open. My heart is bowed before the Giver of this most precious gift.

Are you aware of the needs of your children?
How can you open your eyes to see them today?

Talk to me in the comment section!

 

8 Comments

  1. You’ve got me reflecting a lot here. Especially after this line: “The responsibility falls on me to study them and surrender their needs to Jesus.” I was sitting there thinking that just today: that I am not slowing to really see them. So, so true that there’s so much going on inside them we don’t see. I know there was with me as a child too (being an MK and PK wasn’t always easy).

  2. I LOVE your perspective as an MK/PK! Keep it coming! I am sure there is much I can learn from you as I raise little MKs! For me, just getting through each day is taxing sometimes and slowing down to see them as the little individuals they are can be a challenge. I do hope to hear from you again, Anna.

  3. Good points! A minister friend directed me to reading “Raising Emotionally an Intelligent Child” by Dr. John Gottman. I read it and found it really insightful, and it helped me to communicate with my tween. (Not saying that you need to read it…but it pertains to what you posted about being emotionally aware.) I think it has made me a better mom.

    BTW, my husband’s family were missionaries in Africa during 8 of my hubby’s teen years. We hope to go back for a visit one day because, of course, it was a huge part of who my sweetie is today.

    • Well I’m definitely intrigued! I struggle enough with a 4 year old, can’t imagine a TWEEN! I can use all the help I can get. Thanks for the recommendation.

      I do hope you get to visit Africa! What country did his family serve in? I have been to Burkina Faso, West Africa.

  4. LOL, hang in there, Mama! 😉

    They were in Lesotho. It’s a tiny country that’s completely land-locked by South Africa. Not many people have heard about it.

    Because of my husband’s family’s work there, I truly love the people. We’ve had some visit us in the U.S, which is such a blessing!

    • Heard it on one of those Geo-Safari games a long, long time ago. Have some friends in South Africa. Have heard it is BEAUTIFUl there! I wish I could visit all. the. places! If you ever get to go, I hope you will tell us all about it!

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