If you don’t believe me, just check my Facebook. My mom has gradually become more comfortable with social media and technology; she joined Facebook, got an iPhone, and sends mass forwards like a champ. And she pays pretty close attention to my Facebook page. Whether that is because she doesn’t have many “friends” on Facebook and my statuses are always flooding her news feed or because she just creeps on my page a lot, you can probably count on one hand how many tweets or statuses, or pictures I’ve posted that she has not overwhelmingly “liked” and/or commented on. I find it absolutely adorable.
As long as I can remember, my Mom and my Dad have been completely supportive of everything I’ve done. Good idea, bad idea, they’ve always been in my corner. When I ditched my plan to become a doctor to go to Bible College instead, they wholeheartedly encouraged me. When I introduced a girl named Crystal to them, (an incredibly brilliant and visionary decision on my part) they were completely supportive…so supportive that they both told me, “Do not mess this up, ’cause if you do, we’re keeping her.” When I started a rock band, and later, when I went full-time with the band, when I took a season to search out where God was leading me, when I took a job that required me to fundraise my entire salary to do campus ministry at the University of Illinois, and then, when I moved my family 3 ½ hours away to do located ministry in a church…they have been behind me at every turn in my life.
Now don’t get me wrong, they’ve always challenged me to think through my decisions, but from the time I was old enough to make my own choices, they’ve made it clear that I have to own my decisions. They’ve always believed in me, always encouraged me to chase my dreams. They’ve been there for me to show me that they love me, but they’ve never been a fall-back, bail-out, rescue me from myself, kind of mom and dad. When I’ve made bad decisions that didn’t pan out so well, they haven’t protected me from my own consequences, but they’ve loved me through them and let me learn from my own mistakes.
Everyone takes things from their own upbringing and decides what they want to keep and what they want to pitch. There are definitely some things that I don’t want to do the way my parents did, but there are a whole bunch more that I do. As Crystal and I are kind of fumbling through parenthood, one of the major things I really want to pass on to my own kids is a confidence in how I feel about them. I have no doubts that my Mom and Dad love me and are proud of me, and that has completely shaped my life.
It is my job as Ezra and Calla’s dad to make them know how I feel about them. It’s my job to be in their corner, my job to encourage them to become who God is calling them to be. I’m praying that my confidence in them strengthens their own confidence to tackle big (and small) decisions that will make them into who they are.
So when I make a big deal over the contraptions Ezra engineers, when I proudly display Calla’s three scribbles on a coloring page in my office, when I applaud at living room rock shows and marvel over playdough banquets, I sincerely hope I am building in them an innate sense of self-worth. I want them to have no shortage of memories to remind them that I think they are each incredibly incredible…that I love them for them, that I’m proud of who they are and confident in who they are becoming.
And hopefully, prayerfully, the way I love them will show them a glimpse of how God feels about them.