Trust Moves and the Speed of Relationship
As a mother of many, I certainly do love it when the words, “Yes, Ma’am” come out of the mouths of my children. When they were young, that first time obedience, and their willingness to signal and show respect to me and to the entirety of the family, was important. And that is certainly still true. However, as they are now grown or nearly grown, I have realized that there are a handful of words that mean even more to me than “Ma’am?” followed by their immediate compliance.
I was standing in the kitchen last week, cooking yet another casserole to feed a crowd, when one of them walked in and said, “I was thinking about what you said the other day…” And that was the moment. I put down the stirring spoon, turned around, looked him full in the face and let the impact of those words wash between us. “I was thinking about what you said…” That’s big. That’s powerful. And that’s exactly what we want to strive for as we seek to love, lead, guide, disciple, discipline and teach our children.
In between the parental lectures on cleanliness and not driving above the speed limit, in the midst of the day to day battles of chores and homework, we want the underlying current of our presence to have a lasting impact. Clearly we want our astute wisdom to begin to sink in and start to take root; we want them to “…think about what we said,” but it’s so much bigger than a “Go to your room and think about what I said” moment. It’s more foundational than that. It’s systemic, but above all else, it is relational. And I think that is where we miss the mark sometimes.
Should we discipline? Yes. Should we teach and train their hearts? Yes. Should we continually seek to point them in the way they should go? Absolutely, yes. But it is the way we do it that will either destroy the relationship or strengthen it.
Because at the end of the day our kids have to trust us enough to understand that we are actually in their corner. It simply must be understood that trust moves at the speed of relationship. Trust doesn’t move ahead, nor does it lag behind the relationship. They are one. They are concurrent and congruent with one another.
Trust in friendship is essential. Trust in marriage is essential. Trust in parenting…yep, you guessed it – also essential. When our kids can get to the point wherein they trust that we are really for them, we can know we also have a healthy relationship, and so much good can come from that. It is through relationship that we get that obedience, it is through relationship that we get compliance, it is through relationship that we can share in the joys and sorrows of life together, both now and when they are 23, and 33 and 47.
So hang in there, and remember that in the midst of all of the encouraging and correcting you will do today – they are actually listening.