May 14, 2019

What Have You Done Today?

On Mother’s Day seventeen years ago, I was featured on the front page of my local metro newspaper. Shortly after delivering my youngest daughter on the previous Tuesday, I’d been asked if I’d consider sitting for an interview and photos for the paper’s Mother’s Day edition, the results of which turned out to be a long article and a big, bold, top-of-the-fold photograph of my newborn and me, in addition to pictures of my husband and our older daughter. My family was apparently “interesting” that year since our girls are Irish Twins, having been born just 11.5 months apart. Thus, the reporter mentioned how I hadn’t been a mother at all the previous year but was suddenly a mother of two who weren’t actual twins.

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

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