One thing was for sure...I always knew I wanted to be a mom! It was my life's ambition since I was a little girl...
Chronologically speaking though, my life's intended 'order' was reversed, in terms of how I thought it would go. I ended up spending many years in the corporate world, focused on building my career because I had difficulty conceiving. In fact, I had almost given up hope.
Allow me to back-track a bit: I am the youngest of 3 kids in my family and ever since I was a little girl I had always said to myself, "I want to be a young mom!" Why? I guess because, when I was growing up, I felt like my mom was older than my friends' moms. So silly actually... she was only 34! Such funny thoughts for a little kid to have.
As it turned out, the 'wish' I had kept repeating was finally realized, although quite differently than what I had expected. In reality, I was actually 2 years OLDER than my mom was when I had my daughter, Alyssa! Too funny! You might be asking 'how' I could possibly say it was realized then? I say this because I was a 'young-hearted' mom! I was the mom who was always down on the floor playing, building, crafting or racing kids around the driveway in those little toy cars. I was the mom who did cartwheels, raced around water parks and Wonderland, never missing the opportunity to enjoy 'just one more roller-coaster' regardless of how late it was getting! So, yes, I 'was/am' young at heart ~ just not necessarily chronologically speaking! Lol.
WORDS ARE very important ~ be careful what you say
Community is a place that all members need to feel included, welcomed and safe. THIS is what you can expect from me!
I had some challenges growing up. I didn't necessarily feel accepted or good enough. Somehow I came to believe, 'well, if you expect the worst, you won't be disappointed. And, if something good happens, that's great!' Wow, what a sad way to live as a child and then teen; so limiting and so self-defining when you're young. But I didn't realize this 'in the moment', nor did anyone correct my way of thinking. Perhaps they didn't hear it, but more likely, they didn't know it was wrong or how deeply it had taken root. I certainly didn't share my innermost feelings about it. Rest assured, if you looked though, there were definitely tell-tale signs of its presence. At the time, I had no idea where this negative level of thinking came from or how it originated.
As a sensitive kid, clearly something had impacted me and from it, insecurities were born. I came to understand that I was in self-preservation mode. I didn't realize this at the time though, nor did I realize that my way of thinking was wrong. Ironically, in reality, if you asked my parents, they would have said, 'she's a strong-willed child; and she sure knows what she wants'. Why did they think that!? Because that's what we do when we are camouflaging something. We become experts at portraying an image that makes it appear we are strong. Ultimately, as I continued to grow up, no one knew it, but I longed to feel accepted.
(To lighten things up a bit, keep in mind, there was no Oprah or Dr. Phil then! Lol.)
I am happy to say - I am an over-comer! And while my life was not necessarily an easy life, I'm happy to say that God has used my challenges for His good! As an adult, I have always had an innate ability to see into the hearts of people. To relate; to connect; to see the brokenness. With God's strength, I have been able to use my childhood / teen / young adult challenges to ultimately glorify God's kingdom. I continue to do my best to ensure that, "if I have anything to say about it, no one, (young or old), is going to feel unaccepted if I could help it. I do my best to build people up and encourage them in their goals or through their struggles." This has become my life-long journey...a mission of sorts. And I believe this is where my ability to read people originated.
Be very aware of the thoughts your kids are taking on...
Be very conscious of the information they are consuming...
One thing we quickly learn as parents is that our children learn very, very quickly. You'll hear both new and veteran parents say, 'my baby/toddler understands everything I say!' And they are absolutely correct! And, they understand far more than the obvious words we say to them about day-to-day things. They understand boundaries, (defined 'and' undefined). They understand what encouragement sounds and feels like. They understand if someone believes in them. They have their interpretation of media...good, bad and indifferent; and, in most cases, they are not equipped to understand the negative impact many forms of media carry these days because it can be so subtle. This is why it's so very important to always be 'on'.
Just because 'it' appears to be status quo, doesn't mean it's ok
Be ok with saying no...and be ok with not following the so-called norm. It doesn't matter what their friends are doing. Teach them to be care-takers of their minds/hearts. The bar continues to be lowered further and further and sadly it will continue to decline so we need to be careful. I'm not trying to scare you, but in reality, it is alarming.
Media and books can be wonderful tools of growth for our children, but they can also be the beginning of something undesirable.
Be intentional of what we allow into the hearts of our children