As I walked through the forest on a rainy day with my family, all I could notice was how the rain was glistening on each of the leaves of the trees. I noticed how mini pools were forming at the center of the larger leaves. As I took each step deeper into the beauty of the forest, I started to enjoy the forest, safe from the pounding of the rain under our large umbrellas and canopy of the trees. However, my son wasn’t enjoying the walk anymore. The tears started to roll down my son’s face because he didn’t want to walk in the rain. He stopped finding joy in the rain.
What do we do as parents when the storms of life try to steal our children’s joy? As parents, we go through seasons where we walk and even carry our children through the pounding difficulties of life. When our children and teenagers become more and more frustrated by the rains of life, we can start to feel powerless and wonder what we can do.
While we can’t take away the rain, I do believe there are intentional things we can do to protect our children’s innocence and childhood while showing them how they can still have joy throughout the rains of life.
When my son wanted to feel the warmth of the sunshine, we went back into the greenhouse with him. I think we can do this in the storms of life as well.
We don’t need to put our child into a bubble when we can turn their childhood into a greenhouse.
We can provide them with a loving home where family is first. Even in the bitter cold rain our world is going through, we can still put our children in a safe and nurturing home. In a greenhouse, it lets in as much light and warmth as possible, and all the rays of sunlight pass through with everything staying warmer than outside. Even in the depth of winter, greenhouses stay 20 to 30 degrees warmer. We can create this loving climate for our children metaphorically speaking while they’re still growing and putting down their roots. As they figure out who they are, we can speak words of encouragement to them that help them to pursue their talents and dreams. We can be more intentional about family time and what we allow or don’t allow in our homes. We can also choose what type of education we think will be best for them as they grow. For our family, we chose a classical Christian education where our child is being challenged academically and morally. While nothing is perfect, this was a personal decision we made to help our son grow more spiritually and academically. Your choice for your child may look different, but what matters is that you make a conscious decision to help your child to put down their roots into a rich soil that will allow them to grow, glow, and truly thrive.
We all understand that greenhouses require maintenance and care, but so do our children in this critical stage of development. This will require you to make sacrifices for your children and to be more present for them. You may have to put a dream of yours on pause while you nurture your children. You may also have to push the task you want to complete to the side so you can listen more, but I do think this choice will pay off in the end. Don’t underestimate how important you are in your child’s life.
Just like plants need warmth, light, and moisture to grow, so do our children. More than ever, they need love, special care, and nurturing. They need time to allow their roots to deepen in the rich soil, so that when more storms come, they will not be uprooted. How are you giving your children this time to put down their roots? I do think this looks differently for each child. I would encourage you to thoughtfully pray about what this may look like for your child and their own specific needs.
Just like a greenhouse protects plants from the extreme cold, we too can protect our children from what is trying to steal their childhood and innocence from them. Just like a greenhouse needs air circulation to maintain healthy plants, we can provide the foundation of our values, beliefs, and convictions to our children. We can surround them with a healthier and wiser way to live their lives.
May our prayer for our teenagers be, “No longer uprooted.” May we continue to seek this strong foundation of love for our children. They can then choose to carry this greenhouse with them as they leave our homes because they will need to be able to stand strong in their identity and faith. Life is going to be cold and rainy, but they can stand secure in their faith and God’s love.
Gift Them With Integrity
I was a child of the 80s. I was a barefoot child, spending most of my time outside playing under the warmth of the sun or participating in sports, music, and church. We had family time, and we sat around the table and talked about our days at dinner time. We didn’t have cellphones in elementary or high school. We didn’t take many photos. Our lives were not lived out all over social media. We didn’t watch TV very often except for TGIF where most television shows only lasted 20 minutes and taught a lesson. While life just does not look like this anymore, we can still instill values and morals into our children. We can still get them outdoors and off screens.
In my childhood, I understood the value of doing the right thing when no one was looking. We learned all about what it meant to have integrity. Our lives were not perfect, but our lives were grounded in our faith and the love of our family. We can still show our children the value of integrity. We can still cultivate the life we want our children to have. We don’t need to overschedule our lives. We can replace our busy schedules with more intentional living. Our children can turn to us with their questions instead of their computers. We can be the one answering their questions and teaching them how they can live their life with integrity. We don’t need to leave that up to someone else.
Gift Them With Your Presence
Our children and teenagers should be able to turn to us during the storms of life. We can show them something to smile about through the rain and make them feel loved even in this unloving world.
There are so many flowers that are unopened and that aren’t quite ready to bloom. If our children are these unopened buds, we don’t need to allow the world to force their blooms to open before they are ready. We can be patient with them as they grow.
Many of us want our children to remain kind, cheerful, innocent, sweet, and gentle. However, the world has a way of exposing our children to way too much too soon. They aren’t able to process or handle what they see. They are still growing, and their young minds can have a difficult time handling their emotions. There is one thing we can agree on—it’s just too much, way too soon.
Fill Your Children’s Thoughts With Good Things
We need to stop allowing our children to view violent movies or video games. We need to be careful with what they are taking in on their screens. In my family, we didn’t play violent video games, and we weren’t filling our minds with horror stories or violent books or movies. Instead, our thoughts were grounded in our faith at a very young age. We were entertained by playing outside, listening to stories of faith, and spending time with loved ones. We learned to be respectful, kind, and generous because of our faith. We learned to think about each other’s needs and be unselfish and caring.
Stop a minute and think about what is filling your child’s or teenager’s mind on a weekly basis. You may not be sure. Pay attention to it, and be more observant because what they are filling their mind with will impact them.
What inspiring sayings are you filling your home with on a daily basis? These can be inspiring or uplifting words you speak to your family, but they can also be sayings you place on your wall. What inspiring sayings are filling your home? More importantly, what words are you speaking into the life of your children? For our family, our Christian faith is the foundation of our life. We find peace and joy in the love of God.
I want you think about how you are reflecting your values to your children. In our homes, how are we thinking on ideas which are true, honorable, worthy of respect, pure, wholesome, lovely, peaceful, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy?
I want to encourage you to go through the words below, and think on how you can further reflect on each one on a daily basis in your home.
Worthy of respect
“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. 9 The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.” Philippians 4:8
I hope you found this article helpful in your parenting journey as you seek to fill your home with more love. Our children and teenagers are counting us. When the rains of life fall on our growing teenagers and young adults, may they remain rooted and secure in their identity and faith.