25 Jun 2012

Because most of the time our kids hear what we do and not what we say

It’s Sunday morning and we should be in church. Instead we’re the first ones at the pool and I’m watching Micah swim without flippers for the first time. He’s all awkward energy surfacing each time to yell across at me,”did you see, mom? Did you?”

He gulps as much water as a small whale wearing red swim shorts and an orange swim shirt might. Over and over her clambers out, jogs up to the side near the steps and cannonballs in again. Over and over his curls emerge on top of his goggled eyes to look my way and see if I see.

I do.

But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a  costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright.
~Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

Micah and I have had an intense relationship.

Sometimes I’m tempted to just let it run on cruise control for a while because I get tired of always paying attention. But when I do – when it’s Pete who takes them to the pool and me who stays home to nap with Zoe – I miss things. I missed a lot last summer when Zoe was a newborn and the temperatures soared into the 100s each day.

So this Sunday finds me under a cathedral of blue skies and perfect white clouds witnessing a small boy do small things that, nonetheless, feels like worship.

When I sit there on the blue and green towel with my Dollar Tree sunglasses he hears me and I don’t need to say a word.

I don’t need to craft with him. I don’t need to plan a summer schedule. I don’t need to worry about how he’s eating or his bathroom habits or when he’ll stop lisping.

Today I just need to be with him.

Today that says it all.


Pst, thanks to everyone who entered our house warming-giveaway last week. Winners have been selected and I emailed each of them already this morning. And don’t forget – if you didn’t win you can use my discount codes through the end of this month to snag these lovelies yourself!

Winner of the set of my favorite things:
Entry #602Angela

10 Winners of the DaySpring welcome mats:
Entry #671liz o.
Entry #1192Gayle L.
Entry #261Tracey P.
Entry #51Amanda P.
Entry #363Phoebe F.
Entry #1330Larissa
Entry #489Joy
Entry #629Jennifer W.
Entry #116Rachelle L.
Entry #563Jodi M.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    I love this…yes…my husband and I talked about this just yesterday…we were walking and a dad was mowing the yard…a little boy on another part of the yard…”mowing” too. This picture spoke so much…just what you were saying…they hear what we do. Actions do speak louder than words. And I too have been thinking and writing about every day cathedrals.
    Blessings and Grace for all the …hey mom…watch this moments:)

  2. 2

    I love this. I think we over-think time with our kids sometimes. Good parenting isn’t complicated, and we don’t have to impress them by being more exciting than a Pixar movie or their favorite video game. Helping them find joy in just being together is so valuable- for all of us.

  3. 3

    So beautifully true, Lisa-Jo. And for middle children, even more so, I think. Time and attention – that’s the heart of it. Thanks for this.

  4. 4

    Beautifully stated, Lisa-Jo!

    Time with young children is truly precious! And Mom’s attention is of great value, in a child’s eyes.

  5. 5

    I have a three year old boy who is intense. He constantly wants my attention and pushes my buttons hourly. I love him fiercely, but i find more and more that I am angry with him – for spilling his milk, again; for hitting his younger brother; for always running away whenever we are outside; for being so persistent in his needs/demands. I am isolated these days because he does not socialize well. I carry on, but am more joyless than I used to be. I am lonely. Thank you for being here, thank you for writing your truth. I am grateful.

    • 6
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Hey Amy,

      I know that spot well and it’s a super hard one. That was me and Micah last year when he was three. Might I suggest recruiting a trusted friend to pray and fast with you in a campaign for your boy? For me, it was what helped lead to liking Micah again and not just loving him. I wrote about it here http://lisajobaker.com/2011/11/the-hard-work-of-liking-our-kids-not-just-loving-them/ There’s nothing easy about this stage. But sometimes that’s what ends up cementing the two of you tightly together.

      Many blessings

  6. 7

    I understand this so well, my three year old Noelle wants my constant attention and participation in what she is doing. If she is swimming she wants me in the pool diving with her, letting her ride on my back, if I’m baking she grabs a chair and tries to eat all the ingredients with her sticky fingers.

    I love her and need this desperate reminder to step in and love with presence, 387 times most days.

    Thanks, your blog is a such a pick me up.

  7. 8

    Thank you, Lisa-Jo!! I’m so excited to have won the welcome mat. What are the chances of winning two things in two weeks (and the other from the lovely Leanne Penny above?!)? I’m so grateful for these blessings in what has been a hard several months. You are a breath of grace to me.

  8. 9

    Yahoo! Thanks so much!!! (I . . . um . . . have done a very similar thing to you on a Sunday. I totally get it!)

  9. 10
    Jennifer H. says:

    Oh, I love this! The part that resonates the most with me right now is:

    I don’t need to craft with him. I don’t need to plan a summer schedule. I don’t need to worry about how he’s eating or his bathroom habits or when he’ll stop lisping.

    Today I just need to be with him.

    Thank you for this reminder!

  10. 11

    Thank you for this. I linked back to your earlier post about the intense relationship you have had with your son, it was beautifully written. I too have a very intense son, from the day he was born he was very dysregulated with sleeping and eating, lots of crying and not very predictable. The older he got, the more challenging things became and I felt so incompetent and ineffective. Long story short, he is now 10 and we have learned that he has a sensory processing disorder, ADHD, and a mood disorder, as well as some chronic health problems. Many, many prayers have been spoken over him and with him and my faith has grown but there are still days when it is hard to like him because he is violent and angry with me, mostly me – never at school or with another adult. He also hurts his brother more often than brothers typically do. Please have compassion on the moms of those children who are easy to love but hard to raise because they have behavioral and psychiatric disorders – paying attention to them can be so exhausting.

  11. 12

    I missed a lot when my boy was a little one. And now, it’s such a joy to be in a place where I can notice more and *do* less. He hears me, too, and I see it–he notices that I’m noticing him and that makes him feel so loved, just to know his Momma is his cheerleader. :)

    Rich blessings as you discover more about who your boy, Micah is, and who he will become.

  12. 13

    This is so freeing to me, particularly this line: “I don’t need to craft with him. I don’t need to plan a summer schedule….I just need to be with him.” Thank you.

  13. 14


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