I recently had a glorious kid-free lunch and shopping trip with a dear friend from college. As we talked she said that of all her "mom" friends, I know my kids the best. To be honest, it kind of stopped me in my tracks. The next day I polled a few other friends. They confirmed that, indeed, I do know my kids. Funny how you have to have other people tell you who you are sometimes. Even still I would argue that there are plenty of moms more versed in their children than I, but that is neither here nor there.
The point is, we have to know our kids. Just living with them is not enough. Caring for their every need won't do it. Raising them to adulthood doesn't guarantee it. The reality is that many mothers never truly understand their children. They don't know the little people who follow them around and soon enough they have missed their chance.
As a mom, it is my job to help my kids understand themselves. If I don't know them, how can I help them know themselves. What makes them tick? What sets them off? What feeds their insecurities? What engages their creativity? How do they handle correction? What speaks love? What hurts feelings? Until I understand these things about my kids, I cannot help them.
These answers only come with an intentional approach to parenting. We have to pay attention. We need to ask questions. "How does that make you feel? Why did you make that choice? What bothers/excites you about this? What can I do to help? What have I done to hurt?" These questions, and so many more, can open windows into our child's heart. Then and only then do we truly see them.
Knowing my kids is a daily assignment. I will never stop learning. I am certainly not an expert, but having a child who is difficult to understand has required me to make this a priority. I am so grateful that I have the honor to know such amazing little people. I hope that they continue to give me open windows and I pray that I make the most of the opportunities I am given. Don't you feel the same?