We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange… open wide your hearts also. – 2 Corinthians 6:11-13
Are you connected with your kids? Connection happens when I know you’re there, you know I’m here, and we’re both aware of it. I’m aware that you know I’m here. And I know that you know I’m aware of it. And you know that I know you’re aware I’m here. That’s connection. (Disclaimer: I wrote that before my first cup of tea!)
Now, assuming you were able to follow my winding, amateur definition, connection may seem pretty basic, especially to an extrovert. But as simple as it sounds, some of us are actually pretty lousy at it. I certainly am. I wasn’t very connected with as a child, and I’m an introvert. It’s just easier for me to default into an isolated state.
Connection can be further undermined by major worries, which distract us from our kids. It takes trust to turn away from the demanding concerns of adulthood, and enter our children’s ingenuous world. I believe God wants to carry our burdens so we are emotionally free to connect with our children.
With kids, disconnection is disastrous. They need to connect with their parents, the first people with whom they form relationships. It’s firstly the mom’s onus to provide this sense of connection. However, as I remind myself often, we don’t need to be discouraged if we’ve fallen short. Connection is just a prayer and a habit away.
Prayer is a way we can surrender our inadequacies to God and receive His help. When my children were very young, connection was a huge struggle for me. I wasn’t one of those women who always dreamed of having kids. Mothering was by far the most sacrificial undertaking I’d ever tried, and at times everything in me wanted only to be alone. But kids need their moms. And I knew I couldn’t live with myself if I failed my children here.
In prayer, I learned to fight against my inclination to shut down. I gained victory when I surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s power and decided to connect whether I felt like it or not. This process invariably yielded wonderful blessing. There’s nothing more satisfying than giving our children what they need, and I’m so thankful for God’s enabling in this area! However, I failed many times to accept His help, choosing instead to go through the motions of parenting in a disconnected way. I needed to make connection a habit.
I’m really amazed by what scientists have discovered about the brain. When we learn a new habit, our neuron firing patterns change. Those patterns change back if we unlearn the habit. They easily change back again if we pick the habit back up. So, even if we fall off the wagon, getting back on is easier if we’ve been there before. That’s great evidence of God’s continuing grace!
It takes 21 to 28 days to establish a habit, and up to 66 days to make it really stick. Somehow, my huge struggle to connect became easier over the years. I think it’s because connection became a habit. I love how God hardwired the ability to heal right into us!
Here’s the link to the article I read about habits: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd/2010/05/how-long-does-it-take-an-action-to-become-a-habit-21-28-or-66-days/
Has connection been automatic for you, or a struggle?