Do you know him, the boy in the red coat walking across the bridge? Do you see him in the distance moving further away from you with every step? Is this your child in the distance? How do you know? How well do you know your child? Of course you know his favorite color, her favorite food, his most hated subject at school and her favorite sport but do you know her? Do you know her thoughts about God? Do you know how he feels being the 2nd child in the family? Do you know if she is worried about others liking her at school? Do you know what he really wants when he is at home? Do you know what she fears or he dreams of in his future?
As our children grow we as responsible parents provide them with food, shelter, education, opportunities for growth and our love without question. However, with the speed and business of our culture how often do we sit down with our children and really get to know them? We ask them how their day was, what their homework is and how they are feeling. We tell them when dinner is ready, what time practice is and what will be doing tomorrow. We are good parents, we talk to our children but do we really get to know them very well?
Our children are people with thoughts, desires, interest, hopes and dreams that they may not even be able to verbalize yet. With our help they can get to know who they are a little better. It takes time out of our busy schedules but the time we devote to this worthy cause is irreplaceable. If we want to know the depths of our children’s soul we need to take the time to discover it together. Take some time away from the TV or the computer today and set aside 30 minutes to just talk with your child. If one on one is a little too overwhelming for your child do a chore together and talk to them as you complete the task. Ask your child about their ideas of God, their dreams, give them the opportunity to answer without interruption, and unless they ask don’t tell your opinion give all the time to them answering. If they are unsure use multiple choice questions. I often ask my children if you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and I give them choices 1 outer space 2 the beach 3 Holiday World 4 Bethlehem where Jesus was born 5 Hawaii to a waterfall. Then ask why and let them talk. This time will allow your child the space and safety to grow and to discover who they are.
One day our children will no longer be children. They will be adults. The time we have now is precious and fleeting. It is time to bond with them and discover who they are and what they feel. If we don’t do it now they will not trust it to us later in life. If you want to know who that child is crossing the bridge at a distance find out now before he is on the other side and forever will remain that distant from you.