I know it must seem crazy for moms of toddlers, but once your child starts buckling themselves in the car, going to the bathroom by themselves, and taking a shower on their own, it seems like they grow up in a blink. This past October, I felt like I looked up and I saw a young woman - and I wasn't sure if we knew each other, much less understood one another. I had heard from a friend that she takes her daughters on overnight dates, and I thought that might be just the thing for me and my growing girl to reconnect.We started with some shopping - because she needed new clothes, and I thought it would be a great way to get to know her. I made her lead. I wanted to see what her style was. Since I have a fairly dominate personality, I wanted to give her room to express herself. Let me pause here and say that this didn't mean "anything goes," rather, an opportunity to gain her trust - and for me to see her interests and value her opinions. I don't have to give up all guidance, but I also don't need to turn her into a carbon copy of myself. If I denied her uniqueness, then I would dishonor the Creator who made her perfectly.
Our favorite stop was the Nasher Sculpture Center. Fascinated by the incredible works of art, she could have stayed there absorbing the beauty all day. Life seems to pour out of her eyes. How do I allow her to grow without stifling that amazing curiosity and expression?
I need to celebrate her youth while challenging her to grow in maturity. Recently, a friend hired her to help out with her baby while she prepared for a garage sale.
I've realized how valuable our relationship really is. One day soon, she's going to be struggling with grown up challenges, and she'll need a mentor and trusted counselor to turn to. Will I be safe enough to approach? Will I be truthful enough to help? Or will I turn her away to an inexperienced mentor, like her peer? Will I just give her what she wants to hear and not what she needs to hear so she will like me?
I'm pretty much guaranteed to lose her if I do not attempt to cultivate a relationship before trouble comes. I need to know her strengths and weaknesses so that when she encounters adversity, I can help her understand herself and to apply God's Word to her trial. Giving her room to fail, I need to be the safe and understanding coach.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.