This is my daughter, Elizabeth. We are celebrating her graduation in New York city over high tea and a Broadway show. It was a fun celebration weekend, and this is such a sweet season to do life together.
She now works and lives in Dallas, and we recently met halfway for dinner.
I’m speaking at Pine Cove at a mother/daughter weekend in April. (I’d love to meet you moms and daughters!) In preparation of that, I asked Elizabeth, “Now that you are totally out on your own, looking back, what did we do well? What should we have done to better prepare you to be on your own?”
Her answer was very insightful.
She said she didn’t really remember much of what we taught her. (Really? I spent years homeschooling you, reading books, taking trips . . . and you got into med school for Pete’s sake. . . just a little mama self-talk.) “What I remember most,” she said, “is what I watched you do; how you invited me to be a part; and how you made me feel.”
She went on to explain, that watching how her father and I treated each other and dated each other, guides her now in her dating decisions. When she was in high school, and she showed up during my morning quiet time, I said “yes” to sharing that time with her, guides her now in her own walk with Christ. When she had a passion that she wanted to pursue, we listened and looked for ways to encourage her in her endeavor - like starting a garden or working with orphans.
It wasn’t that we did everything right. I could write a novelette on our mistakes, but as it says in 1 Peter 4:8, “Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults.” (The Voice) I don’t know about you, but that truth is a life-saver for me!
Watching. Connecting. Listening. Loving.
Watching. Live life in front of your children with the integrity, kindness and purpose that you would be happy and proud for them to emulate.
Connecting. Allow them to hear how you make decisions. If the situation allows, let them be a part of the decision-making process. Invite them to join you in daily routines and one-on-one times.
Listening. When we listen, with our heads and hearts, they feel valued. Even if you don’t think it’s a good idea, when appropriate, allow the experience to teach the “no” rather than you, the parent, saying “no.”
Loving. They are easy to show love when all is well, and it’s super important to close conflict with love.
I was at a funeral recently for a dear friend of mine’s father. This daddy was super intelligent - a P.H.D. in Engineering - and equally kind. The three grown children shared that when there was an issue, the dad would sit down and say, “Now, I’m not angry at you, but I’m frustrated with the situation.” What a great perspective. I wish I had that piece of advice earlier in life. They remember how they felt loved and valued even in the middle of conflict.
Funny, I thought Elizabeth was going to say something like, “You should have taught me better money management skills.” Or, “It would be nice to have been trained in organizational skills.” Nope. It’s all about the heart.
Her answer shouldn’t have surprised me . . .
I pray you moms and daughters enjoy connecting with my Heart to Heart stories. We know anew, it’s not as much about the stories as it is about the time you invest capturing and keeping her heart.