Saturday, December 4, 2010

Being with

“And Jesus chose the twelve that He might be with them…” -Mark 3:14

Kids and teenagers need parents that are willing to be with them. Kids will go to great lengths to engineer circumstances to get attention and most of their methods aren't good. A better alternative is to provide your teens the time they need.

Thirty years ago, the second year of Doulos Ministries, I went through the discipleship program. It was much more informal and relaxed than it is now. But the emphasis was still on growing in relationship with the Lord. One of our assignments was to write a paper on a topic of our choice. I remember a friend in the program did a presentation on “Be-lous as well as Do-lous” and he taught on “being” not just “doing.”

His talk hit me hard because I’m a chronic “do-er” and a poor “be-er.” His challenge was to “be” in relationship to the Lord and in relationship to each other. I’m good at doing projects and poor at just relaxing and being together.

My brother Bob reminded me that when our dad would visit and we’d ask what he wanted to do and he would always reply, “I didn’t come to do anything, I came to be with you.” Funny because my dad too was a “do-er,” but the older he got, the more relaxed he became.

We demonstrate love to our kids when we are with them. The more I work with families, the more I’m convinced that it’s more of a quality issue than a quantity issue. Kids understand that moms and dads have lots of responsibilities and that they can't be at every activity. But kids have a super-sensitive radar that evaluates and senses the desire and wishes of mom and dad. They can tell when we really want to be with them and when we don’t. By the way, we all possess that ability to discern.

I remember coming home one afternoon and had been swamped at work but feeling the need to be home with Jeanie. I came home and was preoccupied with a couple of projects back at the office. Jeanie asked me what was wrong. I said “nothing” and that I was glad to be home with her. She commented, “Joey, I love you, but why don't you go back to the office, because that’s where you are anyway.”
She was exactly right. Being home in body didn't mean I was home in spirit.

We need to be careful and intentional that when we’re with our kids, we’re really with our kids. We need to pray that important prayer, “Lord, I trust you with my work responsibilities. Help me to be entirely focused on those I love the most.”
He will honor that prayer and our commitment to our family.

Cherish the time with your kids and don't forget to be a “be-er” and not a “do-er.”
Then, when your child’s radar is up, he will sense your genuine love for him.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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