A friend forwarded a photo to me of her 6 month old granddaughter. The essence of this little girl jumped out at me, her joyful smile leading the way. It got me thinking about my daughter and son when they were that age. I remember all the things that came with parenting a baby; chief among them wondering what to do and when to do it and wanting more than anything to do it well. By some great miracle, my son and my daughter were depending on me!
One of the scary things you realize as a parent is that your children are always watching you. You don’t need Instagram to know you have a follower in them. They learn by imitating you, so in addition to caring for them, you need to make sure you are caring for yourself. Chances are, you’re watching someone too.
Who are you imitating? Who’s guiding you?
When our children were small, I found a large sign that said, “You are Loved” and hung it in our family room. I told our children to look at it and remember that they are loved. Their dad and I loved them and greater yet, God loved them. They are beloved children of God.
The truth is, I needed that sign as well. I needed to remember who I was. I needed to know who to watch and who to imitate as I navigated parenting and life. When you get down to the heart of the matter, who are you, really? Who are you beyond what you do or where you come from?
The Bible tells us, "See what great love the Father has lavishing on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are." (IJn 3:1) We are sons and daughters of God. There is great comfort and power knowing you belong to God. It also gives you purpose. As a child of God, we are to be imitators of God. We are to live in love as Christ loved us, and gave himself up for us. (Eph 5:1) As his children, we are to watch him and learn from him. He is trustworthy and has promised to be with us. We can be with him, learn from him, and follow him. May our children do the same.