by Barbara Rainey
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. . . . [You] are intimately acquainted with all my ways. PSALM 139:1-3
Over the years, Dennis and I have attended hundreds of events involving our children. Baseball games. Volleyball matches. Cheerleading events. Gymnastics competitions. Evangelistic outreaches. Music recitals. Sometimes they all seemed like a blur! But there is one trap we worked hard to avoid: the Soccer-Mom Syndrome—the belief that attending your children's activities automatically means you're involved in their lives.
In reality, involvement means much more. It means crawling inside the head and heart of each of your kids. Finding out what he or she is thinking and feeling. Diving into the often turbulent waves caused by uncertain emotions.
This can be scary and uncomfortable at times. That's why so many parents run from real heart-and-soul involvement with their children and withdraw to much safer territory.
The sobering truth is that you can be in the same house or the same gym with your children but be clueless about what's really going on in their lives.
Yet connecting can be something as simple as walking into each child's bedroom, sitting down and asking a few questions. It can be a quick outing for a milkshake or a hamburger. It can be stepping out on the porch together on a Sunday afternoon, just to check his or her plans for the week or ask if he or she needs to talk, to let your child know you're there to listen.
When you pursue this kind of heart-to-heart relationship with your children, you're actually following God's example. Wouldn't it be wonderful (someday) if your kids could say of you, "My parents have ‘searched me and known me.' They know not just ‘when I sit down and when I rise up,' but they also ‘understand my thought' and are ‘intimately acquainted' with who I am and what I'm like"? That's the definition of an involved parent. Not just watching how well they turn a somersault.
Ask yourselves this question: "Are we just going and doing, or are we living and listening?"
Pray for ways not just to get there, but also to be there for your kids.