I was thinking last night, as we sat around the dinner table, that sometimes it’s not so much what you teach your children that matters, but what they don’t know.
You see, we sat there in the restaurant, myself, my hubby, our three younger boys, and their bonus mom. Our oldest was at youth group. I watched them as they naturally interacted with her, as we all did, and I thought what an amazing thing that they don’t know any different.
They have no idea how rare such a thing is, to them it’s natural, comfortable.
They don’t think it’s odd when they get off the bus and she’s here hanging out with me doing a craft. They don’t think it’s odd that we took them on a date to their mother son bash, TOGETHER. They don’t think anything of asking her to join us for dinner on a Wednesday.
They don’t think it’s weird that we talk during the week, or that we have them over to celebrate life together.
None of that seems unusual to them.
I’m so aware of what I teach them. So intentional about making sure they learn how to fully depend on God, to see others as He sees them and to embrace and appreciate every difference with genuine love.
But last night, as I watched them, fully realizing they have no idea how rare their family is, I was most proud of what we haven’t taught them.
They don’t think that because your parents aren’t still married they can’t be friends. They don’t think that your mama and your bonus mom can’t get along. In fact, they think that they’re very close and sometimes talk more than you wish and prevent you from getting away with anything.
They don’t think it’s odd for their entire family to sit together on the front row at church. Both moms and both dads.
They don’t think that because you’re no longer married it means you have to disrespect each other.
They never question their loyalty because they know they will have four parents present anytime they find themselves peering out from the stage.
I often think about all that I want to teach them. All that I want to instill in their little hearts. All the ways I want to prepare them to be men that change the world for Him. To raise them after His heart.
Last night, as I sat there watching them laugh, listening to the conversation around the table, I realized, I’m so very proud of all the things we haven’t taught them.
They have learned compassion in the absence of disrespect. They have learned love in the absence of hate. They have learned joy in the absence of negativity.
What we haven’t taught them, may in fact have given them the greatest capacity to fully see what is possible. To embrace love.
They have learned that a family can be WHOLE no matter how many homes it consists of.
We have many choices as parents. Moment by moment choices. We shape our children’s world with our words and and our actions. Being a parent is a huge responsibility. But maybe, maybe it’s so much more about what we choose not to do.
Maybe it’s about choosing love when we don’t feel like it, or choosing compassion in the moments of frustration.
Maybe it’s the moments when we make the choices that seem backwards to the world, that we are exercising our greatest power to change our children’s world.
Maybe we teach them more about God by what we don’t do.
To be honest, yes, we’ve done so much of this for them, and have not done so many things for their sake. But they aren’t the only ones that have received the blessings.
We have the rewards of friendship in the spaces where many experience pain. We have the gift of sharing the journey and parenting together. And parenting is hard, having a team is a good thing.
None of it is easy. We’re all human.
We make choices to teach our kids how to love people. And that includes everyone.
Especially the people that matter to them.
We can’t say, “Jesus wants to us love everyone”, if that everyone doesn’t include everyone in their world.
They see our actions as well as our gaps. And sometimes it’s the things they don’t see us do that have the greatest impact.
Have we made these choices for them? Sure, their little hearts matter. Is it hard sometimes? Yep, but so incredibly worth it.
They have been so blessed to not even question how unusual their life is. But they’re not the only ones receiving the blessings. So are we.
What you pour out comes back like a flood.
Man, sometimes, it just feels like such RIDICULOUS GRACE.