My bride and I love our kids. Honestly. We enjoy hugging and kissing them. We enjoy holding their hands, though they’re quickly seeing that I’m not nearly as cool as they once thought I was! We love seeing them smile and hearing them laugh. We love when they ask questions about Jesus, truth, the Bible and find it deeply humbling when they do it unprompted. We love family movie nights (typically Fridays) that almost always involve pizza, popcorn, and ice cream. We truly enjoy their presence in our lives; they’re not a burden or an annoyance (most of the time 😁).
We hear parents “wish away the younger years” because they’re arduous and exhausting (e.g. meals, baths, getting dressed) but truly, we’re relishing these younger years because as Sandra Stanley aptly and insightfully says, “the days are long but the years are short.” It “feels” like yesterday they were a newborn where we find ourselves asking, “where did the time go?”
We know that time is not a commodity we have an unlimited supply of — in just 7 1/2 years our oldest will graduate high school! To that end, here are several phrases or words that are a part of the Millican landscape that we want to embed deep in their hearts as we seek to parent them in a way that honors Jesus. Here are a few of them, as well as several others I wanted to pass on:
- I’m thankful for you. I’m proud of you and I love you.
- We try to say this to then each and every morning before school. Encouragement is good for the soul — even for your 4-year-old or 16-year-old.
- We don’t do fair.
- Don’t you hear your kids say often, “but that’s not fair”? We do! We don’t get all preachy on them every time that they declare a circumstance or a decision is not fair but we do fairly regularly share how we are grateful and humbled that God does not do what is fair. Insert gospel conversation!
- Work hard.
- Do the job all the way and the right way.
- Be a tenderhearted warrior.
- We discuss, implore, and pray that they would be sensitive and tender to the people and circumstances around them, while also exemplifying courage and assertiveness to be the boy or girl God wants them to be.
- Jesus is the most important pursuit and person in the world.
- We pray this truth almost every day for our kids and by God’s grace, we try to model and teach it.
Here are 5 other statements David Parks shares in his book, 5 Things Every Kid Needs To Hear (Over And Over):
- You are loved.
- You have value.
- You have a purpose.
- Not everything is about you.
- I’m glad you’re here.
What else would you add? What words or phrases characterized your family? I would love to hear from you!