3 Reasons to Lean In to other people’s children…especially when they stumble

3 Reasons to Lean In to other people's kids...especially when they stumbleBrrrring.

Melissa hesitated to answer. It was the dreaded phone call from the mother of the boy her 6-year-old foster child had just punched in the face on the school playground.

Melissa’s family brought Joey into their home 2 years ago while his mother tackled the consequences of her addictions. Their family loves really well even welcoming Joey’s mother into their house every Friday for an overnight while she works through her recovery.

Joey therefore looks forward to Fridays all week. Friday was a special day. Friday had significance. He knew that he would be with his mama. He didn’t see her struggles, just the face of a woman who he loved.

But 2 weeks ago, Friday came and went, and mama didn’t come…didn’t even call. Then again last Friday, no word from her. She had a setback in her recovery.

Brrrring.

Melissa humbly answered her cell ready to apologize for Joey’s playground punch.

Any parent knows that terrible feeling when your child has wronged somebody else’s beloved child. It’s not a fun place to be.

But before Melissa could speak, the other mother began,

“Hi, it’s Tam. We were hoping Joey could come over this afternoon for a playdate. We want to make sure he knows how much we still love him.”

What?????

I imagine Melissa’s mind went something like this,

“My foster child just closed-fist punched your son in the face two hours ago, and you are inviting him over for a playdate… today? So he feels loved?”

I burst into tears hearing this.

Can we just pause at her response?

Oh the love!

So much beauty is said through her words. What if we met the people in our life with a love like that? A love filled with grace and mercy that doesn’t turn when we stumble. A love that says when you wrong me, I still love you.How do we look beyond behavior to the heart of a child? Great insight into why and how we can Lean In to other people's children

What if we met other people’s children with a grace like that?

The teenager that texted inappropriately

The middle school clique filled with girl drama and gossip

The bully on the school bus

 Why and How to Lean In to other people's children when they struggle3 Ways to Lean In to our children when they stumble

 

Why it is important to Lean In to kids when they are struggle.

 

Our instinct is to pull back.

To judge.

To gossip.

To ultimately feel better about our own children and parenting.

But what if we leaned in as a community, not with judgment but GRACE and LOVE?

What would change?

Lives.

Why and How to Lean In to our youth. Our tendency to is pull away from the "bad kids" yet that opposite of what they really need.

3 Reasons to Lean In to other people's children...particularly when they stumble.

A book that has rocked my world in understanding grace is Parenting A Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion. If you desire to better understand how the grace of God can radically change your family, read it.

We don’t know the hidden stories and unseen struggles of the people around us. We often see their actions, not the pain in their heart.Often we pull away from the "bad kid" who continues to get in trouble. Here are 3 reasons why we should Lean In and how to do that.

For the 6-year-old foster boy longing to see his mother at week’s end… what was it that caused him to lash out?

Just 3 innocent words spoken by his friend.

“It’s not Friday.”

And with that his heartbreak came out in a punch.

But because one woman chose to lean in, he was met with what he really needed…Love.

 

Often we pull away from the trouble maker kids when what we really need to be doing is the opposite. Here is why and how to lean in.

  1. Kids need other adults speaking truth into them. This is especially important as children reach middle and high school. Often teenagers hear things from teachers, coaches, and other adults they might not receive from their parents. It is a different role than the parent yet can back them up by reinforcing truths from a different angle.

Andy Stanley once said, to have influence in a person’s life, we must start with a relationship. We need a relationship before our words will ever have influence. At that point, loving correction can help children see that although their actions may seem justified, there are consequences to poor choices. Our goal is not simply acceptance but changed future behavior.

  1. We have the opportunity to affirm in children who they truly are, not who their missteps dictate they are. It is a powerful moment when a child understands their identity is not based on performance or actions, but on who they are as a child of God, forgiven and covered in grace.
  1. The easiest way to show love to your friends, is to love their children wholeheartedly. Invest in those relationships. I feel most loved in my life when my friends graciously and compassionately lean into my children when they stumble. They offer hugs, encouragement, guidance and speak truth into their souls.

This is community.

Often we pull back from the trouble makers and "bad" kids when they really need us to Lean In. This post explains why relationship is the gateway to influence.10 Ways how we can Lean Into other people's kids who are stumbling and 3 Reasons why this is incredibly important.

 ♥ Allison

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A letter to my children at the start of school

A letter and challenge to my children as they head back to schoolTo my children,

I love watching the excitement build as you get ready to go back to school. You’ve labeled your supplies and placed your colored pencils in rainbow order in your pencil box. For the moment your clothes fit perfectly, and your newish school shoes are still relatively shiny. Your lunch boxes don’t have that end-of-the-year grime, and your backpacks no longer have duck tape covering the holes where you dragged them to the car.

We ‘meet the teacher’ next week with anticipation of a new year and reconnecting with our friends. We will clip flowers and make the teacher a card. We will give hugs… a lot of hugs to all of our friends.

It is an exciting day, but I want to remind you of something.A letter and challenge to my children as they head back to school.

There might be a new student in your class who doesn’t know what to expect. Remember how you felt when you were the new kid at church and didn’t know anybody? I want you to look for them and learn their name. Did you know a big smile can make a huge difference in their day?

Make a difference in somebody’s day.

When you look around, you might see a friend from last year with a broken smile. At some point that has been each of you. Maybe their smile is broken because they are nervous and uncomfortable. Maybe there’s a lot of yelling at home or their dog is sick.

 

I challenge you to notice them because everybody needs a friend.

That broken smile is sign they need one right now.

Be that friend.

 

To my middle schooler, you have a locker. You change classes. You are at an age where your friends care about hair and shoes and who is in class together. It is perfectly normal to want to be accepted and blend, but I want more for you.

My challenge to you whether you are feeling insecure, or confident, is to look beyond those immediately around you. Understand I DO want you connect with your friends, but I want your gaze to extend beyond that.

A back to school challenge as you start school

Amidst all the excited energy in the hallways, I challenge you to see the girl timidly standing by her locker not talking with anybody. Ask her about HER schedule. Invite her to walk with you (and your friends) to class.

Have room for more.

When lunchtime rolls around, intentionally notice if somebody is sitting alone or wandering awkwardly with their food. A simple invitation to eat together can make a potentially ‘horrible day’, one filled with hope.

Like I told your brothers, look for the girl with a broken smile.

Use yours to make hers whole, and in the process, yours will get a whole lot bigger too.

Have a great day!

Mommy

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What these ladies did to turn a friend’s day around, and what they received in return

Love what these ladies did to turn their friend's day around. |the House of HendrixI love women. There is a universal bond between us that has its own language. We all package it differently, but deep down we understand that a great haircut or a few pieces of sea salted dark chocolate really can make us feel better, even if just temporarily.

We recognize the irony of wiping down our kitchen counters 10 times a day trying to control life even when our bathrooms haven’t been cleaned in weeks.

A while back I wrote a post about girlfriends, which had more than a million views. The comments and stories taught me that women crave authentic, deep relationships with each other, yet our insecurities and fear of being judged often get in the way.

This morning I had the privilege of seeing women at their best.

For the past year I have met with a small group of ladies who get together weekly for a Bible study in my friend’s home. These are not your ‘Have-it-all-together’ kind of ladies. They are real women with real struggles who are doing the best they can.

My friend, Michelle, has been battling a condition for 8 years that has her in periods of intense, chronic pain. Can you imagine 8 years of pain? She is understandably exhausted in body, mind and spirit, yet continues to push through with a smile on her face and a determination to not be defeated.

When she said that she simply didn’t have the physical energy to come to our small group this week, we understood the struggle behind her words. Simply cooking dinner for her family uses up everything she’s got.

My friend, Trisha, e-mailed our group suggesting we meet across town at Michelle’s house this week. I secretly wondered if Michelle would even want us in her home. However, that email was a spark that turned into something beautiful.

We showed up today at Michelle’s house IN OUR PAJAMAS because…Who wants a bunch of women in cute outfits in your home when you are in pain, right?

But my girlfriends didn’t just wear their jammies. They had their heads filled with ridiculous curlers and were wearing those oversized-cushy slippers not meant for the outdoors. They looked fabulous!Love what these ladies did to turn their friend's day around.

Each woman brought her own cleaning supplies too because…

Do you know what 12 women with cleaning supplies can do?

Deep clean a house in 30 minutes.

So as these curler and jammie-laden women got out of their cars with Swiffers, buckets, and feather dusters, my heart began to melt, because women get it.

A clean house when you are absolutely exhausted can turn your day around.

A gentleman walking his dog stared at us in the driveway and said, “I’m not even going to ask.” We laughed.This is why women rock. Absolutely love what these ladies did to turn their friend's day around.

How would you feel if 12 women with curlers and feather dusters showed up at your house. This is why women rock!

As we went inside our friend’s home, everybody scattered. No cleaning plan was necessary because as women we already knew.

Girlfriends at their best. Love this story of friendship

One woman immediately began stripping beds and starting the laundry. Another few headed straight for the master bathtub.

This is fabulous! ADORE how these women turned their friend's day around. Girlfriends rock!

There is nothing like girlfriends! This story of what these ladies did to turn their friend's day around proves it.

Several women were stocking the refrigerator with dinners for the week.

I saw a friend pull out new board games and place them on the breakfast table for their children, while another took measurements to fix some broken curtains.Such a genius way to make a friend smile. Must read

We wrote out verses and words of encouragement on colorful index cards and taped them on mirrors, cabinet doors, and bedside tables…surrounding this home with encouragement.Hang words of encouragement or Bible verses were hung on mirrors, cabinets, and drawers.

To keep Michelle from trying to help, we gave her a deep tissue massage while her house was being cleaned. She closed her eyes and moaned as the burning sensations through her limbs lessened. As her pain fled, the checklist of things she deeply desired to do for her family got done.

Women understand. We need each other because life gets hard.

After we finished cleaning, we circled together giddy with excitement to pray. Why women need each other.

One woman summed it up perfectly,

“This is the most joyful day I can remember.”

It truly was. Every woman there was invigorated and filled with delight from simply cleaning our friend’s home.

But that would never have happened without one thing:

a woman being vulnerable enough to humbly allow us in to see her dirt.

THAT is what makes this story beautiful. It was her willingness to be real which permitted 12 women the gift of overflowing joy.

Women don’t mind each other’s dirt. We crave the authenticity of it.

We’re wired to connect on a level beyond the superficial, but it requires vulnerability, and that can be scary.

Michelle reminded me of this today.

There is no greater privilege than when a friend welcomes you in just as she is…and just as you are.

Let’s stop striving for an image of perfection, and instead be exceedingly gracious in our judgments of both ourselves and others. THAT invites authentic relationships.

But more than anything, being real with our girlfriends gives us the opportunity to turn each others’ days around, and we need each other to get us through the dirt.

Allison

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