Editor’s Note: Charisse Tierney shares with us her thoughts about prioritizing and connecting when our children give us signals that they need us to really SEE them. Charisse is a professional musician, Catholic writer, and stay at home mom of four. She and her husband, Rob, teach Natural Family Planning and Theology of the Body for Teens through their parish in Newton, Kansas. Their family enjoys living the attachment parenting lifestyle and growing in their Catholic faith together.
The gentle breeze brushes my hair from my eyes with its perfumed scent of spring, and I take a sip of my coffee as my overjoyed toddler smiles at me. Henry and I are taking a coffee break together.
Just a few moments ago, I was knee deep in piles of laundry. The sink of dirty dishes was threatening to completely overtake my kitchen, and my toddler was simply refusing to play happily by himself. Weary of listening to whining while plowing through my housework, I decided to stop and focus on the most important task at hand: making my toddler’s life a little more enjoyable.
I grabbed my afternoon cup of coffee and a sippy cup of water for Henry, and we headed out onto the back deck together. I sat down to drink in the beauty of the day. Henry happily sat next to me, watching my every move and imitating me with periodic sips of beverage. I gazed into our flower garden, marveling at the beauty of God’s creation. Then I looked at Henry, radiating with joy at being the focus of his mother’s attention, and I knew I was spending those particular moments of my day in exactly the way God wanted me to.
As parents, we have the ability to teach our children how to achieve great success through their actions and by the power of their own self-discipline. These are certainly invaluable lessons as they carry out the work of God in their lives. But more importantly, we can teach them that God created us for relationship, both with other people and with Jesus Christ himself.
It is in the still moments of the day that our children learn they are more important than folded laundry, more worthy than clean dishes, and hold a value infinitely greater than a perfectly orderly home. It is in the peaceful moments of the day that they see the unfailing, unconditional love of Christ through us. They see our delight in being with them and loving them simply for being who they are, regardless of what their actions may have accomplished that day.
Let us inspire the joy of knowing Christ to appear on our children’s faces by taking the time to get to know them ourselves. Take a cue from Mary and abandon our Martha ways. Seek out the beauty of God in our children’s faces, and make sure that they are seeing a reflection of that in our own.