Meet author and mom Eryn Lynum . I met Eryn at the Colorado Writers Conference in Estes Park last spring. We connected right from the start. We share the same heart (and you have this desire too) for making lasting connections with our kids. 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting–Eryn’s book — was just released. I had the great pleasure of being one of her endorsers. You can find out more about Eryn and her new book at the end of her article. Enjoy!
The “Small” Connections that Make All The Difference
He stared up at me, waiting for my next words. I had caught his attention as he whizzed through the kitchen. “I know I haven’t been spending a lot of time doing things with you lately. I’ve been really tired and busy. I’m sorry.”
My apology was selfish. I was grasping for relief from the guilt that had sunk deep. I wasn’t investing in my boy. But then he smiled, and responded with this, “Well Mom, there is one thing you have been doing a lot lately…and that’s hugging me!” With that he threw his little arms around me, and in his embrace I found exactly what I was yearning for.
My family’s current life season has been a bit…hectic. Maybe you can relate. This month as we birth both a book and a baby into the world, I have found myself at times overcome by feelings of guilt. It has seemed all together ironic, yet fitting, that while releasing a book about Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting, I have struggled harder than ever to be an intentional parent. Time and energy have been stretched thin. I believe every parent feels this way, no matter where their season finds them.
Yet throughout the past three years of writing about intentional parenting, God has been laying this very powerful and freeing truth on my heart:
It is the small, every day investments that we make in our child’s life that matter.
Further, our expectations for our parenting are often much bigger and more unreasonable than our child’s expectations for us. As Galatians 5:1 reminds us: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
So often that slavery can look like our own expectations.
Just as my son reminded me with his sweet smile and embrace, it is the seemingly small shifts, the easy-to-miss moments of connection, and the sweet beauty found among the ordinary routines that mean the most to our children.
I do believe that the “bigger” investments are important, from time-to-time, but what if we were to focus in on the everyday opportunities we have, building one upon the other until a legacy is born?
Why not begin implementing some of the following ideas into your home? This list will look different from family to family, depending on the age of your children, and how many kiddos you are raising. But I hope that by the end of this list, you will arrive at these grace-filled conclusions: Today is what matters. Today you can make a difference. And during those particularly hectic seasons of life, the “small” deposits made every day are not only the easiest, but the most fruitful.
Occasional Investments (Choose one from the list every month)
- Breakfast date alone with each child
- A trip to the museum or zoo
- A nature hike
- A trip to the bookstore, let them choose a book to bring home
- Throw a spontaneous party (My boys and I recently had a “lava party”. I bought supplies to make slime and a simple homemade volcano, grabbed some cookies at the store, hung some streamers, and we have a fun morning learning about volcanoes. They talked about that party for weeks.)
Regular Investments (Choose one from the list every week)
- Picnic at the playground
- Trip to the library
- Bake or cook together
- Spend an hour coloring or doing a craft together
- Family movie night
- Walk around the neighborhood together
Everyday Investments (Choose one or two every day)
- Read a book or a chapter of a chapter book together
- Stop your child in what they are doing, make eye contact, and tell them you love them
- Tell them, “I love who you are”, or “I’m proud of you because __________”
- Sit together and ask a thought-provoking question (“What is something you want to learn?” or “What is a dream or goal you have?”
- Ask them to sit next to you
- Leave an encouraging note on their pillow or in their lunch box
- Enjoy a meal together
It is terribly easy as parents to feel as though we are not doing enough. We compare ourselves to what we see or perceive around us and on social media, and are tempted to succumb to guilt. But parents, hear this: the “small” connections make all the difference. Let’s allow ourselves to live under the grace God has already called ours, and watch as He brings forth fruit from our small efforts paired with His big love.
Eryn Lynum is author of the book 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting. She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and three boys, where they spend their time hiking, camping, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. She loves to travel and share at conferences, churches, and writers’ groups. But every opportunity she gets, she is out exploring God’s creation with her family, and sharing the journey at www.ErynLynum.com
Click here to head over to Amazon to find 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
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About the Author
Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.