To my middle school boy, LOVE is…
A cool hat
Hours spent gaming
Freshly baked cookies
Fast food (and lots of it)
Sleepovers with friends
An extra hour of TV
Ice cream in the freezer
Whatever his friends own…
Today, I poured out my love for him by…
Helping him with Math
Driving him around
Spending 2 hours at the gym so he could play basketball with his friends
Making a healthy dinner
Washing his favorite sweatshirt
Laughing at his jokes
Reminding him to do his chores
Setting limits and saying no
Making him walk the dog. Twice.
Praying for him
Hugging him goodnight (as he squirmed away from me)…
We don’t always speak the same language,
my boy and I.
Sometimes he gets what he wants
and feels loved,
Sometimes he gets loved
instead of what he wants.
Often he wishes for a different mom,
One who would love him more… or less.
He’s not old enough yet to realize
that real love thinks long-term—
It chooses the eternal over the temporary
It chooses health over happiness
It chooses wisdom over being liked
It chooses God’s ways over the world’s
It chooses growth over popularity
It chooses to make the hard decisions
even when they are misunderstood…
Oh, how I love this boy!
Maybe one day he will grasp just how much.
I wrote this last week after a rough day with one of my boys. I must have whispered to myself, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed…” a million times that day! He told Jeff, “Mom and I quarreled, but then we worked it out.” (Extra points for a using a vocabulary word!!) I’m not sure that explanation fully captures the extent of our exchange or emotions, but that’s okay. It ended with teary-eyes and I love you’s, and that’s all that really matters. We came out better on the other side.
Parenting is hard, y’all.
H A R D!!!
But these battles for our children’s hearts are SO WORTH IT! Do not give up. Do not quit fighting for them. They need us to love them, even when they don’t know how to receive it. They need us to set boundaries, even when they struggle against them with every ounce of their being. They need us to fight through our hurt feelings and love them anyway. And they need us to keep pointing them to Jesus.
We will get it wrong half the time, and that’s okay. Just don’t give up. Keep loving them. That’s what we’re trying to do around here, however imperfectly; trusting the One who loves them most to fill in the gaps with His grace.
That’s all I know to do.