“He had led everyone in his house to live worshipfully before God, was always helping people in need, and had the habit of prayer.” Acts 10:2 (The Message)
Our family went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 over the Fourth of July weekend. This season of parenting is very different from the days of toddlerhood where bad moods melted away with a cookie, a cuddle or a diversion. The children are bigger and the issues they are facing are bigger too.
While watching the movie I was struck by some encouragement I believe God wanted to give to me. Today I want to share it with you.
Spoiler alert: In the first movie, Groot dies except for one little shoot that ends up growing, so at the beginning of this movie, he’s a baby. A cute baby Groot that everyone adores and protects and keeps safe because he can’t protect himself. They give him the protection and love he needs to grow into a “big Groot.”
And that coincides with what God reminded me of. Even though the guardians exchanged barbs with each other, used a lot of sarcasm and raised their voices back and forth, they weren’t fighting. It was their way of communicating “love.” The interactions they had with Groot were age appropriate and tender while the communication they volleyed back and forth with each other was also age appropriate and understood.
The same goes for parenting. There are definitely different stages to parenting and different ways of communicating in families depending upon the ages of the members involved. While I’m in no way advocating being hurtful or disrespectful to each other, the way a parent speaks to a toddler is quite different than the way they communicate with a teenager. Cuddles, popsicles and cookies work great with a 2-year-old whereas slang, movie taglines and, at times, appropriately placed sarcasm get the point across with those who are reaching for their independence. I’ve never enjoyed sarcasm. I don’t think it looks good on me and have been quite bothered in the last few years that it’s attached itself in my conversations.
It was encouraging to me to realize that while our “baby Groots” have all grown up and the stage of absolute tenderness is gone for this season, we are still family and love each other fiercely. While our expression of that love may change with each season we find ourselves in, there is still always room for tenderness with each child as they need it and that will always be my preferred communication style. Before we know it, if God allows, we will be welcoming spouses and grandchildren and there will be more “baby Groots” to cuddle. However, until then, changing our love language to fit the stage our family is in is healthy. Never to the point of hurtful… just changing enough to speak in a voice they can hear and receive. Even if that means well placed and never hurtful sarcasm finds a place at our dinner table for a few more years.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017