I came across this photo the other day, from my college days. Yes, believe it or not, I was a cheerleader for most of my undergrad career! It cracks my kids up. To be honest, it sort of cracks me up too!
I got to thinking…I’m still a cheerleader. My “team” now is my family. I started thinking of all the ways we moms can cheer our team on. These are some things I want to be more faithful in doing:
- The first and best thing I can do for my kids is to be in the Word daily. Meditating, reading, memorizing, internalizing it so that it changes me and helps me think more like God does and less like I am prone to be. When I was a cheerleader, we had lots of practices. When knew the words, the steps, the drills, so that in the middle of the game we could function as a unit, and choose the correct cheer for the appropriate time. It became rote. Oh, how I want my ability to apply God’s Word practically to our family life to become rote!
- Hugs-I’m big on hugs…and they are good medicine! (it’s been scientifically proven-lol)
- Smiles and laughing together (ask my kids…periodically, my reply to their eye-rolls is, “One day you’ll look back and be thankful you had a mom who was a nut.”)
- Grabbing that special little something on a tough day. Whatever it is. A cool shirt on clearance at Wally World, Cake Pops from Starbucks, or a “sweet nothing” that catches your eye at Dollar Tree (even if you know it won’t last a day once you bring it home). Just something that says “I was thinking of you”.
- Cutting some slack. We can be drill sergeants sometimes. We forget what it was like to be a kid, and how BIG those now-comparatively-small problems could be. So when that kiddo is a “little black rain cloud”, how about looking inward. Our stormy days still come around too. Are we demonstrating how to navigate them biblically?
- Showing grace. I remember one particular time when all the kids were immensely crabby, picking at each other and complaining in the car on the way to shop. I pulled off in the TCBY parking lot and told everyone we were going in. With enthusiasm, the kids all ordered their favorites, and when we found our way back to the car, I asked, “So…do you think you deserve this treat?” They all agreed they didn’t. We had a good discussion on grace that day, and how our loving Father gives us good gifts because He is good, not because we are in any way meriting them.
- Encouraging the impossible. Instead of being Rebecca Realist whenever the kids bring their pie-in-the-sky ideas to me, I try (not always successfully) to be open minded and convey that I believe in them.
- Acknowledging achievement. This is another one where I need to think back on my childhood and the times when I wish someone had said, “Great job!” or “Proud of you!” That’s not to say that we celebrate every accomplishment with fanfare…otherwise it starts to be meaningless. But the times when they applied themselves, really tried their best with every ounce of sweat-equity they could muster, when they really doubted their ability but they pulled through (even if it wasn’t stellar)…those occasions need a big Mom Nod.
- Little pokes. When Facebook had that “poke” feature and “Pieces of Flair”, I used to send them to our two oldest…just because. Now, even if I am not surfing the web very much, I still make sure to drop by and see what they are posting on social media. “Liking” and plugging in cute emojis and stickers here and there.
- Reminders that God is big, and Christianity is more than on Sunday mornings. This is just looking for those teachable moments throughout the day when you sense that the scope of their thought processes is getting too narrow, and consequently stunting their viewpoint of God. It’s showing them that when stuff “goes down”, and hearts are breaking, we pray because it’s the first and right course of action to take. Applying scripture to every day issues to show them it really is alive and powerful. Showing them by what we do, say, read, listen to, and how we react…that Mom isn’t great, but God is…that’s important.
- Making home a haven. Being a kid is tough. I remember the things I experienced growing up. Hard things. Hurtful things. That kid stuff that is unfortunately all too common. Home needs to be not only a physically safe place, but a place of welcome and understanding. A place of comfort and stability. Even today, our oldest told me of her rough day yesterday and how she had told a friend, “After a day like this, I need home.”
So, you may be thinking, “Well, what about your husband? Aren’t you his cheerleader too? What does that look like?”
I am my husband’s teammate. More than a cheerleader. That’s material for a future post. 😉