Updated: Feb 12, 2019
It's easy to get stuck in the weeds of our day to day activities. Some days are filled with getting our "to do list" done, while some days are lazy. Some days are emotional, and it seems no one can get along, while other days are creative and inspiration carries us away. As parents, we feel it's our duty to capture every activity and excursion we have as proof that we did go places, and we did fun things. The kids may be bickering, but we coerce them to please smile for the camera and then post the nicest one they unwillingly gave on our social media. I think it makes us feel better about ourselves and gives us a sense of satisfaction of a job well done.
Have you noticed that when we look back at our millions of photos of our kids on all sorts of days, they only warm our hearts and we can even chuckle at the not so great moments? Especially the older photos of when they were younger. Looking back helps us to see how much they have grown and matured. It's good to be reminded that they will only continue to mature out of their current stage, and that there's no need to rush it. If you are parents of teens, how often have you observed that mother with the toddler throwing a fit, and just smiled at the cuteness? Only reminisced about how little your guy once was? It's easier to not see that tantrum as so detrimental when your kids have grown and are no longer crying in the middle of the store when they don't get the latest toy they just discovered and now can't live without. We even go so far as to tell that young mother that these kids grow really fast and to enjoy them while they are little. But are we giving ourselves that same advice about our teen?
Somehow, we need to get in the place of looking back at the snapshot during the moment of frustration. To not let the repetitive issues of hurt feelings and retaliation control our own mood and actions. If we can take a mental snapshot of those moments and realize that there will be a day when our 15 year old will be 30, and our 17 year old will be 32. They will become adults and they will take what they are learning from us now into their own parenting. Did we loose our temper because they ruined our outing? Or did we listen and help them navigate their hearts? What mental snapshots of us are they taking that will be filed and stored for years to come? Did our faces show disappointment or anger? Or did our faces show empathy or kindness? In the same way I am collecting snapshots in my mind of my children's behavior and choices, they are also taking snapshots of me. It's good to remember this. And while we can put the nicest ones out for all to see, we cannot destroy the ones of us they have stored in their minds.
We all have difficult moments and days, and we all desire that others only think of our best ones. But the only thoughts we can control are our own. We can choose to view the collected snapshots of our children from a bird's eye perspective. To see how those moments of working through their hurt or need of forgiveness is part of their maturing process. It is our privilege and sacred job to guide them into being the young man or woman of God they will one day be. If we choose to hold on to those snapshots with a positive perspective of who our children are in Christ, and treat them as their best selves, then they will do the same towards us and others. Maybe not overnight, but little by little they will grow. Keep taking those good snapshots of your children and put them at the forefront of your own profile page in your heart and mind. Keep posting the best snapshots before the alter of God and ask that he would help you guide them to be their best selves and to live for him!