you are so loved sunset grassy field

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“Baby I wish you could see your value more clearly.” I was talking to my 8-year-old son as we drove to school. His 6-year-old brother quietly sitting next to him, listening to our conversation from his seat.

“I wish you could see yourself as God sees you. See yourself as I see you, and your dad sees you.”

It had been a rough 24 hours. Now I was picking up pieces and smoothing things over as best I could.

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He had his first baseball game last night with his new team. He struck out…. twice. And he was taking it hard. Still this morning he wrestled with it.

We arrived at school and I dropped them off. Telling them, “I love you, be kind, learn lots.” Something I say every day. As usual I drove home with my mind a sea of thoughts. One thought kept bobbing toward the surface. “Why is he so hard on himself?”

This question repeated in my head and finally I asked it out loud, unofficially directing it towards God. “Why is he so hard on himself? He’s amazing in so many ways! We tell him that all the time. We encourage. We motivate. We show love. We give affection. We laugh and have fun. Why is he so hard on himself?” My voice had gotten louder. My hands tightened on the wheel.

As I turned into our driveway a question came back to me…
“Why are you so hard on yourself?”

Woah. The question caught me off guard. By now I was home and I sat in our dark garage with that question.

“I don’t know.”

I sat with that question some more….

Could it be that he was just modeling behavior handed down to him… from me…? Was I showing him that “you,” the beautiful soul, shouldn’t ever be first? You the beautiful creation of God should work harder? Do more?

All those nights I stayed up late working when I really wanted to go to bed. My son saw that….
Was I too hard on myself?

My son sees me skip breakfast every morning so I can feed pets, wash dishes, get lunches together, and breakfast made so kids can be fed and out the door. Is that hard on myself? Is that mean…to me?

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The more I sat with this thought the more one thing became evident. In order to show my son his value and worth,… I need to know my own. I need to show that I value my own self.

Parenting happens in the moments that slip away quietly. The moments that we think go unseen. The moments we think nothing of… our kids are watching. Unconsciously learning the behaviors that will shape them into who they become.

I need to..

Be softer on me,.. so he will be softer on himself.

Show myself grace,.. so he will show himself grace.

Love me fully so he can love himself fully.