Setting aside the reality a presumably secular reporter wouldn’t understand – i.e., we had an older daughter, lost to a miscarriage two years earlier, who’d actually made me a mother, or at the very least that I was already a mother when pregnant with my older surviving daughter – it was an interesting experience. I am photo-phobic to begin with, and I definitely didn’t relish the thought of my picture being splashed all over the front page of the paper less than a week postpartum. But I chose to do it for my girls – to make a family memory of our somewhat unique situation. I wanted to demonstrate that I valued them by taking advantage of an unusual opportunity even though it shoved me far outside my personal comfort zone.
Thankfully, I don’t often need to go to – what was for me – such an extreme. In fact, we most often demonstrate to a child that he or she has value in the little things – i.e., massaging his dimpled baby-thighs after a warm bath, cuddling up to read to her (the same book for the umpteenth time!), consoling him after a tumble off his new two-wheel bike, celebrating her first solo dance at a recital, putting down our phones when they need to talk… Yet we must still be intentional about communicating to them – regularly and sincerely, in actions and words – that they have deep value to us and in this world.
Sadly, kids will not be taught that truth elsewhere. By God’s grace, they’ll have a few encouraging teachers and coaches along the way and will find supportive friends. But the tragic reality is that much of what they’ll face in the world – even as young children – will seek to tear down their sense of inherent worth. So, if we want our kids to be immune to such assaults on their emotional and spiritual well-being, we must purpose to provide daily inoculation against it by clearly and directly – in big ways and small – communicating that they are, indeed, important and valuable.
What have you done today in that regard?
Photo Credit: Tommaso Scannicchio