I have recently come to a most shocking realization. Maybe you have discovered this for yourself already. Maybe you haven't, and you really need to. Are you ready? This is life changing for me.
My children actually like me. And your children actually like you.
This may not seem to be a staggering truth at first glance, but let me explain the sheer magnitude of this fact.
First, I've given them lots of reasons to not like me. You know, like saying "No" to them for no reason other than that to say yes would make a mess for me to clean up, make my work take longer, or in some other way interrupt my life.
Second, I've been more rude to them, on occassion, than I've been to complete strangers. For example, the snapping and pointing and waving them away when I am on the phone; the rolling of the eyes when I need to repeat myself. Is this familiar to any of you?
Third, I just don't find myself terribly fun to be with. In our house there have been days when Daddy comes home from work and the house erupts with laughter and I realize: "I don't think any of us have laughed all day until just now." Sad.
These are just some of the supporting evidences for why I am shocked that my children actually like me. I so often parent in a way that protects myself from getting hurt or feeling rejected. I expect them to not reciprocate the love I have for them so I play disinterested so that I won't feel as snubbed. You know, just like walking into the High School Cafeteria, trying to sit at the 'in' table, realizing that they don't want you and walking away saying "Who cares? I didn't really want to sit there anyway." (nice cover up.)
But I heard the other day that the person of greatest influence in a child's life is the same gender parent. The second greatest influence is the opposite gender parent. So, I can influence my wee ones positively by believing and living as if I am someone they like, or I can influence them negatively by living as if maybe they really don't like me. Can you imagine the pattern of rejection I could set up in my dear daughters and sons if they pour their interest and affection on me and I respond coldly as if to say "oh you don't really mean that."?
Lord, I love my children dearly. Please strip me of the self-centered attitude that worries that "maybe they don't like me", and help me to be more focused on loving them and showing them what healthy, safe, trusting relationships look like. The mother-child relationship is no place for me to be shy and intimidated. They like me. They really like me. (maybe I don't get why, but they do). Lord let me live so that they know I REALLY like them back.