Are you a teacher, dad, grandparent–someone who will coach children in their Mother’s Day messages and gifts? Here are some fresh ideas to get them started on their messages.
Young children may touch mom’s heart with their crayon-drawn cards….
….but older children can begin to venture outside the box of “Thanks for all you do for me” into specific actions mom does. Just two or three of them will communicate a deeper level of appreciation perhaps.
Older children and teens can begin to articulate specific qualities, character, personality traits and attitudes.
These creative sentences may spark children’s short messages affirming the spirit of their mother. I like these ideas offered by Keely Chace :
- You’re the glue that holds us together.
- I hope you know how much I admire the woman you are.
- You’ve taught me so much without saying a word.
- Your love has shaped me in lasting ways.
- You are the heart and soul of our family. I love you.
- For all you’ve gone through, all you are and all the love you share.
- You’re the best listener I could ever ask for.
- You don’t just give love, you are love. And I love you so much, too!
- There’s simply no one else like you. I feel so blessed.
- Creative, generous and fun–that’s you. [or whatever qualities fit her]
And for stepmom (or mother figure):
- Thank you for being such an important person in my life. You’re someone I can tell anything and ask anything.
- I wanted to recognize you on Mother’s Day for being such a caring and positive influence in my life.
- I look up to you more than you know.
- You’re an amazing women I admire, appreciate and love.
Tweetable: Creative ideas for Mother’s Day messages beyond “Thanks for all you do for me.” Click to Tweet
I’ve never been good at multi-tasking. It’s not that I didn’t try. I tried for years. I just can’t hold my thoughts together when I’m working on multiple projects at once. It’s always been this way, so it’s not just because I’m getting older. I admit being jealous of people who have bookmarks in several books right now, digital or otherwise. To keep plot lines in context? Not a chance.
Suddenly an inability to divide attention is a hot commodity.
To listen with full attention is in demand. Personal devices, certainly good and necessary, are perhaps the most common enemy of our desire to give all our attention to what our loved one has to say. To be emotionally present with others communicates their importance.
As we finish this series of blog posts on the topic of blessing children, we will now focus on making an active commitment to giving them our undivided attention.
What we can do to develop their spirit
Look for opportunities to talk with them and find out what is going on in their minds. Ask good questions that allow them to respond however they want. Help them sort through their dreams, opinions, wishes, and just generally be available. Be honest with them about your own thoughts and goals. Integrate their faith and morals when it is natural to do so.
Author Gary Smalley wrote about spiritual growth, “Our purpose in listening with full attention is to be able to take what children share and weave it into words and stories that teach new truths and communicate not only a blessing, but also principles for living.”
Expect to pay a price
From his own experience with his three children, Gary found that his commitment to bless them meant:
- Hard work–to provide a blessing to each child
- Time—to meaningfully touch and hug them
- Courage—to put into a spoken message the words of love that have been on the tip of my tongue
- Wisdom and boldness—to highly value them
- Creativity—to picture a future for them filled with hope and with God’s best for their lives
Yet we also get a blessing from the joy we feel at seeing a child’s life bloom and grow because of our commitment to them. It is in the giving that we receive.
Ways to bless children right now
- Let the child wear something of yours (a necklace, a baseball cap) during dinner because you trust the child can handle it.
- Ask, “What would it take for this to be a great weekend for you?” and try to see that it happens.
- Learn a new age-appropriate joke and tell them.
- Make their favorite dinner on a day other than their birthday.
Note: The concept of the blessing, along with some of the ideas here are taken from the book, The Blessing.
Tweetable: When you commit yourself to give undivided attention to kids more often, expect to pay a price. Click to Tweet
4 ideas to bless kids with your undivided attention beyond making eye contact and listening. Find them here. Click to Tweet
“I’m bored” should be two of the most thrilling words children say to us.
“I’m bored” demonstrates a child’s willingness to go outside their default game, the usual videos or familiar TV shows. This is our big chance to suggest activities that will engage children in one of their proven talents.
The child’s emotional payoff will make it easier next time to get outside the usual.
For some children, that could mean engaging in art or learning karate. For one girl, it meant party planning. At 10 years old, she was demonstrating ability in leadership and organization. She loved planning things and being in charge, and she was creative.
Her mother suggested that she plan a surprise party for her sister.
The girl shifted into gear with great enthusiasm. She dreamed up a theme and activities. She planned out the schedule of what should be done when. She created a guest list and invited people.
She designed a menu that would go with the party theme, then made a list of supplies and food for her mother to pick up. This 10-year-old was clearly in her element, and her joy in surprising her sister with a fun party and friends was evident.
Certainly there is a cost to supporting and encouraging a child’s abilities and interests.
Expect to see an impact on the way money will be spent, amount and type of family time spent, and choice of activities outside the home and school.
It could mean recruiting extended family to pay for lessons. As a great-aunt, I’m always looking for birthday gifts that the kids will like and use. Recently I made a comment to two of my nieces about the artistic ability I see in their children. I talked about gifting summer cartooning classes to the one who lives near the Charles Schultz Museum. We know her son is artistic, but let’s see if cartooning fuels a spark in him.
Learn to see boredom as an opportunity for creativity and development for the children in your life. You never know what it might spark.
Next week: The unluckiest kids in the neighborhood
Tweetable: Summer is here and “I’m bored” should be two of the most thrilling words children say to us–here’s why. Click to Tweet