Be At My Side by Chris Thomas

April 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm Leave a comment

by Chris Thomas

…and Mizpah,

for he said “May the Lord

keep watch between you

and me when we are

absent one from

the other.” Gen 31:49 NASB

One of the first gifts from my husband was a Mizpah coin inscribed with the above verse. We each wore half of the coin for years until they were literally worn through. It gave me comfort during college or vacations to know that David and I were praying for each other and reminded of each other by this simple token.

As our love solidified into marriage and we took on the role of parents, separations remain a part of life. They might be as short as a visit with a friend or as long as a week at Grandma’s during the summer. My goal as a mom is not to be such a snug cocoon that our children are hindered from growth but rather to be the foundation from which they stretch their wings and fly.

How does one provide stability and refuge as well as freedom and the confidence to explore?

I asked our children to share memories of going to a new school or camp for the first time. Our fifteen year old daughter said she was comforted when we told her that no matter where or when, if she wanted us badly enough, one of us would come. She confessed to testing us a few times when she was so homesick in kindergarten that she couldn’t stop crying. I remember sitting with her on my lap as I savored her warmth knowing that the next morning I would open my arms and encourage her to

run into the classroom with laughter even as she seemed to forget my presence. Today we remind her that we are still only a phone call away if she needs us, yet we all celebrate as she explores her world.

Our middle son values the strength of a family structure with parents serving as role models. The rhythm of a day’s comings and goings full of familiar activities helped him to feel grounded but not dependent. Mark’s dream career is in the world of opera. Though we have little personal expertise in this field, we delight in encouraging him to pursue his gifts even though to do so he needs to live a thousand miles away from home.

Our eldest son appreciates the fact that we always strive to make our goodbyes and hellos heartfelt. He recognizes the need to take time to be present and not just “there” for these moments.

Mizpah, a Hebrew word for watchtower, was the place east of the Jordan River where Laban bid farewell to his daughters and son in law in the book of Genesis. They shared a meal, accepted gifts and built a memorial at the place of their parting for they knew they might never see one another again. They took time to say goodbye.

Summer is full of opportunities for exploration and growth through experiences around the corner and even around the world. How do you provide your children a grounded environment?

How do you encourage them to fly?

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Entry filed under: Spiritual. Tags: , , , , .

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