Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Love Dare 17--Love Promotes Intimacy

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separate close friends.....Proverbs 17:9

and the dare for this day was:

Determine to guard your children's secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them. Talk with your children, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues. Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you. Make them feel safe.

and as a follow up to doing this dare:

How much of an effort is it for you to hold back from saying something, critical or otherwise? What have you learned from you children today, simply from listening?

Hmmm......this is actually pretty difficult!! All 3 of my children are adults, and they all have a tendency to keep things to themselves and not readily share with me. Looking back at this and reading this chapter has made me realize that the reason they don't easily come to me with their problems, their personal thoughts and struggles is because I am overly critical. I say things in anger or frustration that I more than likely don't really mean. In other words, I speak before I truly listen to them or think about what I am going to say in return!!

And, their number one reason on their list of not telling me things is this:


Oh, does this bring back memories!! Memories of me with my own mother--hiding things I had done, poor grades on report grades, getting into trouble at school, and on and on and on. And why did I do this?

Because I didn't want to upset my mother!! Why didn't I want to upset her? Well, let's just say here that I loved my mother. But, she was overly critical of me always!! And when I ever did anything to upset her, she would go into her room, shut the door and go to bed--not just for the night but for WEEKS.....YES, WEEKS!!!

Needless to say, Mom had some issues of her own going on there, and I always said I would never do the same to my own children--be overly critical of them, expect perfection of them, shut them out of my life for any period of time.

Unfortunately, life has a way of repeating itself--I, too, had many issues to deal with when my children were young--a terrible marriage, violence, abuse, drug addiction of my spouse. Now, I am not saying to put blame anywhere. Forgiveness has been given on my part after much soul searching, prayer and help from God.

But, how did I handle this at the time? I became overly critical, expecting perfection of my children, and yes, I did take to my bed, in the throes of depression for a period of over 3 months.

A learned behavior that I had told myself would never occur in my relationship in my children--repeating itself!!

Now, we must realize that my 3 children are very close to one another--even with one living miles away. I can be sure that if one of them has something on their minds--a problem, a struggle--one of the others will surely know about.

And then it comes to me--not directly from the source--but in a round-about-way from one of the others because my children cannot keep something about the other one to themselves!! They are not good secret keepers!

In the past, my first reaction was to pick up the phone, confront whatever child was having a problem, a struggle, or doing something that they shouldn't be doing (yes, even though they are grown!).

Realizing this about myself, I have talked with each of them--telling them of my past relationship with my mother (no, they didn't know before), how I picked up this habit without even realizing it, and that I want to change.

I told them that I want them to feel free to come to me without anticipating my "upsetedness", my criticism, my anger or my frustration.

I am the one who needs to change here--and I am determined that I am going to change.

I want my children to feel free to come to me without fear of upsetting me. So far, none of them has approached me with anything, but I am prepared.

No, wait--Daughter #2 did this just 2 weeks ago--she lost her job and didn't tell me!! And when she finally did, I wasn't upset like she thought I was going to be!! Instead, I supported her in her decision and told her that this was for the best--that bigger and better things are just waiting for her!!

See, I'm making these changes already without even realizing it. Now, just to stop, listen and think!!

And now on to Day 18:


How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.....Proverbs 3:13

and the dare for this day:

Prepare a special dinner at home, just for you and your children. The dinner can be as nice as you prefer. Focus this time on getting to know your children better, perhaps in areas you've rarely talked about. Determine to make it an enjoyable evening for you and your children.

I think I'm going to have to wait until Christmas to do this day when all three are together. I'll be skipping to Day 19 and going back to Day 18 when all three are together again!!



Grammy said...

What a wonderful post. For me I know way more about my kids than I need to know. I seem to be Mrs. Fix it. And now I can only fix it with words of wisdom. I have to remind them we live on a fixed income. I really learned a bit from your post. I have to think of what habit I may have from my mom and remove it too. My kids were raised with love and some freedom of choice. Where I had none.

Dorothy Champagne said...

Your commitment to build a relationship with your children after such turmoil is so inspiring!

Peggy said...

Blessings Beth, Another good, insightful thoughtful Love Dare completed and skipped so see you could catch up!

This Love promotes Intimacy was an excellent self reflection. You made excellent evaluations of your childhood, your past & theirs and now "nail it" and leave it as you did when you changed & showed a different reaction to the job loss.

Incidences like this will grow their trust and comfort level. Who knows soon they will be coming to you & Christ!!!

Good to hear that you will be together for one of the two upcoming holidays! Are you sure that 2 of the 3 can't get together to celebrate your BIRTHDAY on this THURSDAY? Come on...don't pass up the chance. So how does having a dinner help you understand them?
Now I'll have to go read the Love Dare...and skip all to this chapter. I thought about this and I could not do this for a spouse or my adult adopted children so I really do have to commend you for doing a job so well and with much commitment. But that is the only way to purpose to LOVE through HIS POWER! Great job, my friend!

Denise said...

Bless you for your thoughtfullness.