Raising four kids, my husband and I often find ourselves in the position of more places to be than time and space allow. On one such morning I was scheduled to sing on the worship team at church, my oldest had Sunday School and my son had a swim meet all at the same time. We divided the kids and I brought my young daughter with me to church, hoping I could hunt down a friend she could sit with during first service.
I was nervous about parking my daughter with just anyone. This child is sweet, loving and full of joy. But she’s also energetic and somewhat unpredictable. She’s the one who might talk too loudly, burp unexpectedly, or accidentally knock over the purse of the person next to her.
My friend Cyndi lit up when I asked for her help and happily agreed to let my daughter sit with her. She assured me they’d be just fine together.
I didn’t tell my husband about which friend had agreed to sit with Violet. Because Cyndi sits in the front row of the service right next to the pastor, who happens to he her husband. I knew Dave would have a panic attack at the mere potential for our daughter to do something royally embarrassing in front of the entire church – so he was better left in the dark on this one.
Cyndi took Violet by the hand and they wandered off together to make some hot cocoa for the service. Violet looked over her shoulder at me and grinned like the Cheshire Cat.
I could tell she thought she’d just died and gone to heaven. Mom and dad never say yes to the hot cocoa. And they certainly would not let her bring it into the sanctuary – let alone march it right up to the front row like she owns the place.
I sighed, prayed she wouldn’t spill, and headed up to the stage to sing.
From the stage, I was blessed with a unique vantage point to see my daughter in the front row worshiping with all her little might. Her eyes were wide, her voice loud, and she had her own motions for all the songs. She was so tender and sincere. It was a beautiful moment. Well … it was … right up to the point when she spilled her cocoa all over the floor.
Cyndi didn’t even flinch. She just smiled at Violet and they worked together to clean the sticky mess. Then they snuggled up close for the rest of the service.
And so began a little friendship between Violet and Cyndi.
Violet can’t believe no one else sits up front in what she deems the “best seats in the house.” And now she sits with her pals Miss Cyndi and Pastor Brian every chance she gets.
They have developed a routine that includes watching birds with Pastor Brian before the service and preparing hot cocoa with a secret hot to cold water ratio known only to Violet and Cyndi. They make a game of predicting together what words will be the fill in the blanks on the sermon notes then count up how many they got right after the sermon.
One Sunday Violet was so proud of her accurate notes that she offered Pastor Brian the opportunity to use them for second service.
I have seen the effect on my daughter’s heart to know she is welcome and adored by Miss Cyndi. And their friendship has reminded me how important it is to take time to get to know and love one another’s children.
Adult friends give us a renewed delight in our kids individual gifts.
My daughter has boundless energy and piercing intensity. She can light up a room with her enthusiasm and exuberance. I’m not gonna lie, it wears me out some most days. But Cyndi delights in her spirited personality and when she recounts their adventures together it reminds me what a treasure my daughter is. She helps me view my precious child with fresh eyes and a warm heart.
Adult friends often bring out the best in our kids – and remind us to do the same.
As a mom I can get too hung up on behavior modification – particularly in church where I just want to make it through without someone farting or spilling the busy bag contents under the seat in front of us. But being able to step back, I have watched Cyndi patiently explain aspects of the service to Violet in ways I wouldn’t have thought to do. She isn’t as concerned with behavior and instead capitalizes on Violet’s bright mind, tender heart and love for the Lord. Their interaction reminds me that my child is a well of curiosity and I am inspired to nurture her sharp mind and sweet spirit.
Love and attention from adult friends can be a safe harbor in a tough world.
Even from a young age, kids face a constant onslaught of negative messages, temptations, and criticism in their worlds. It wears on them. They need safe adults besides their parents who they trust and will speak truth into their lives. A steady stream of messages of love, encouragement, and interest from adult friends can be a powerful antidote to the negativity encountered in the world.
I am so grateful to all of the friends in my life who love my kids well.
So let me ask you, do you have a Violet in your life? If not, what are you waiting for?
Whose kid can you take under your wing? Invite them over, make a coffee date, let them sit with you at church. Attend their sporting events or activities. You will be making an investment you will never regret. And you’ll be blessing not only the youth – but their parents as well.