other people's children

I have learned that one of the greatest ways to bless a friend or peer is to delight in their children.

As much as parents try to tell themselves that their identity and worth is not found in their kids (or particularly the behaviour of their kids), it always does the heart good to see someone else enjoy your offspring.

Lessons come in many different ways.  I would say, for me, this lessons is born of three observations:

1 ~ a mother's face.  Look at it when you take interest in her child, bending down to his level, chatting about something that's important to him.  Look at her face as you share something that is delightful in her child - his funny laugh, his sharing during playtime, the sound of his voice singing.  A mother's face will tell you that you've been an encouragement to her, that you've validated the hours, weeks, years she's invested in her little ones.
precious Ms. Hester - Abbey's kindergarten teacher in NC
2 ~ the flip side.  I tell myself I'm not the only one, but so many times people have come to share a little story with me about how my child said this-or-that and isn't it so funny, when it's very obvious that the child was being rude or obnoxious.  I never know how to respond - am I expected to flush with embarassment (my go-to response) or should I laugh along (kids say the darndest things....oh yeah not YOUR kids, just mine.).  I really do believe these people are just trying to connect or something like that, but I always walk away feeling less-than.
masked man takes time to play with wild children! :)

3 ~ my heart.  The Lord knows me, He's called me by name (Ps 139:1, John 10:3,  2 Timothy 2:19).  He delights in me and sings over me (2 Samuel 22:20, Proverbs 3:11-12, Zephaniah 3:17 ).  These are scripture words that never fail to speak to and encourage my heart.  As I child, I didn't lack in this department.  I relished in the knowledge of being cherished by my family, valued and enjoyed as a friend.  And yet - I still love to hear it!   I love to hear it from my Lord and anyone else who wants to say it! :)  And I love to hear it through the dear ones who delight now in my little ones.

delighted in being the centre of attention.

Everyone has the fundamental need to be valued and I have the opportunity to share Christ with people as I make the choice to delight in others.  I may not always connect on some deep level with all my friends kids, or the kids at school and church, but I can always find one thing.  I can be a blessing to parents and children alike as I choose to see whatever is lovely, whatever is praiseworthy....

And that's what I think of other people's children. :)


  1. Deanne22.6.11

    I am going to think about this from now on when talking to parents about their kids. Whatever is praiseworthy! Love that. never thought about it in this way. I probably have pointed out what I thought was a cute story of the kid doing something not so good and making the other mom feel bad. I know this has happened to me. Knowing the comments are most likely not mean spirited but still made me feel less than as a parent. Like we need more pressure :)
    thanks for the encouragement to actually show the delight I feel from other peoples kids. May I be a blessing to other parents.
    May I also remember to do this for my own kids. Mention the good/praiseworthy stuff to them. Not just the bad. To delight in them and make sure they know it.

  2. coffee_pot30.6.11

    So true. I fully believe that becoming a parent has made me a better teacher especially in the art of communicating things to parents. After sitting on the other side of the desk hearing about my own child's struggles, I know I can be that much more compassionate with parents of my students.


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