Psalm 111: 7-8: “The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness” (NIV).
During the conversation I referred to last time that I had with my daughter, we talked about how trust and obedience go hand and hand. If she consistently obeys, our trust in her increases and therefore, her freedom does to. If she consistently chooses to disobey, then the trust we have in her decreases and she loses things she enjoys until that trust is built back up.
I looked into our three year old’s eyes the other day and what I saw reflected back was complete, innocent trust. When I think about how vulnerable children really are, it makes me a little sad that at times that innocence is taken away prematurely. Every child deserves to have at least one adult in their life that will raise them to feel safe, secure, and loved.
When we had our first child, I naively thought that I would always have his trust and never do anything to misuse that blessing. Let’s be honest, I didn’t realize just what a gift it was to have, as well as the huge responsibility that went along with it. I absolutely love to look into the eyes of a little child, say up until age five, and see that they feel safe and secure with me because I have proven that they can trust me. When I can comfort him or her with the right word or when my loving embrace helps to soothe his fears or dry her tears, I feel blessed. It makes me strive to keep that trust in place and years ago, I assumed that would never change.
However, now that we have our third child, I have stopped taking my children’s trust for granted as I have realized just what a treasure it is. Because, anyone who has older children can attest to the fact that as they grow, parents also can lose their children’s trust in the same way that our trust in our kids can decrease due to circumstances or choices made.
It’s easy for me to assure our three-year-old that Daddy destroyed all the monsters in the house. It’s a lot harder to explain to a preteen that she’s safe when her friend’s house was completely destroyed by a senseless fire. It takes time to build back trust after you innocently humiliate your child when you told a “cute little story” about him on Facebook and his friends found out, sharing it all around. What about the careless word spoken when you’re tired after a busy day – you know, the one that isn’t so bad it would make you blush but certainly did nothing to raise your child’s self esteem? Do your conversations and actions leave your child feeling loved and treasured, or do they walk on pins and needles sometimes, waiting to see how you will embarrass them next for the sake of a laugh?
I want to challenge all of us today. I’ve been guilty of telling the cute little stories about my kids and then regretting it later when I realized I put my need for a laugh before their feelings. I have regretfully used a tone of voice that reflects exasperation and exhaustion instead of joy and love when speaking to my kids.
Just as we want our kids to keep moving forward in the areas of obedience and trust, we need to be further along on the road then them, positive role models, giving them goals to strive for. As much as I want to give my kids increased freedom as a result of their being trustworthy, I want them to know without a doubt that I’m rock solid, someone they can trust. I want them to come to me when they face challenges, when they have fears, or just to have the assurance that what comes out of my mouth will build them up, never tear them down. Being a parent is a great privilege that comes with much responsibility. I won’t get it right all the time, but I hope I do well enough that my kids know they’re terrific in my eyes. My kids will be beaten down enough in the real world, but my prayer is that inside the four corners of our house they know they can always trust the two individuals called mom and dad.