My family and I were recently out to dinner to celebrate a birthday. We were with a lot of people and it was one of the situations where all the adults were at one end of the table, and all the kids were down at the other end. Down at the kid's end of the table, I couldn’t help but notice that my 16-year-old daughter was getting frustrated. Now, since she was so far down the table I couldn’t hear or see what was bothering her, but it was clear she was upset. It wasn’t long before I learned what was going on as I heard the pleasant and loving tone in which a sister speaks to her brother. And I don’t know what it's like in your house, but my children’s pleasant and loving tones reserved for each other usually sounds a lot like yelling and insults. Clearly her little brother was getting on her nerves, and clearly she had had enough.
Thank goodness it was the end of dinner and we were able to get out of the restaurant and to the car quickly. Once we got in the car, I was able to find out that my son was being a typical 12-year old boy doing silly dumb things at the dinner table. It really wasn’t anything major except that my daughter felt they were embarrassing. And of course, in true little brother fashion, as soon as he realized it was bothering his sister, he amped up the goofiness. Once I learned what happened I first took a few minutes to talk to my son and tell him it wasn’t nice to continue doing something he knew was upsetting his sister. And I then took a few minutes to talk to my daughter and tell her if it was upsetting her that much, she should have told one of the adults so we could have stopped it before she got so upset.
For the most part it, was typical mom of siblings who love to get each other’s nerves type stuff. However, as I continued to drive down the road, I realized there was something else I that I needed to talk to both my kids about. I realized that it really wasn’t her brother's goofiness that necessarily got her upset - it was what other people might think about him, and therefore might think about her, that upset her. I wanted to make sure that I took a little bit of time to talk about that too. I told them that while her brother should have stopped when she asked, she also should not be so worried about what other people think about her. And especially not let it upset her enough to the point of hurting her brother with her words. Of course, when you say this to a teenager girl, all they really hear is the noise the adults make on Charlie Brown. Their whole lives mostly exist around what other people might think about them!
But, one of the desperate desires of my heart is for my daughter, and all kids, to know that it is not the opinion of others that really matters. I desperately do not want them to view themselves as others view them, or build themselves up based on the opinions of others. I do not want my daughter or my other kids to live their life pleasing others and trying to be what other people say they need to be.
Instead, I want my daughter to care about what God thinks about her. I want her to know the only opinion that truly matters is God’s. And I want her to know that the only person who should tell her who to be, and knows who she should be, is God. I’m her mother and honestly at the end of the day my opinion, pleasing me, and what I want her to be doesn’t really matter. Only God’s. I want her to see herself as God sees her. And though she most likely won’t listen to me when I say it because I’m just mom, God really did make her to be wonderful and amazing. He really does see her as perfect, beautiful, awesome and remarkable. After all, the Bible says she is fearfully and wonderfully made. And He loves her more than I can or ever will be able to love her. He created her to be exactly who she is and has a perfect plan for her to live out as He created her. I want all my kids to know this, believe this with all their heart, and live it out with their whole life.
I know this may seem like a whole lot to come out of a simple argument between my two kids. I mean, it was just one moment of her being embarrassed by her little brother. One moment can turn into many, though, and we never know how much one event can impact us. And out of all the hopes and dreams I have for my children, this is one of the ones I want the most. It is one of the ones I pray for regularly for my children, as well as all the children I get the blessing to lead through Children’s Ministry.
So yeah, it was just one little fight, but I wanted to make sure I seized the opportunity to remind my daughter and my son that other people’s opinions are not what matter most. God’s opinion matters most, and we should build our lives not around what other people think or desire, but what God desires. And though it may not be popular, especially with teenagers, and it was met with the typical “Ok mom” look from my kiddos, I know I am at least planting seeds. As long as God allows me to be their mom, I’m going to do my best to help them know how wonderful God thinks they are and how much He loves them.