I have felt very much like I was pregnant again….yes, I have been nesting:))) Summer is approaching and two of our three children will be back in the nest. I have been reorganizing the pantry, throwing away stuff in their rooms, cleaning and preparing for their arrival in just a few days. While lying on the sofa last night, I was just thinking how our driveway was going to look like a used car lot…..because as soon as our kids are home it also means we will get an increased traffic flow of other kids.

It also means the quiet, idle and clean kitchen….will once again be the hub of activity day in and day out…the washing machine will be in a state of constant humming! I love it! Empty nest is a cuss word in my vocabulary! I do have friends that love their space and the quiet but I guess my DNA is wired differently. I get a charge from spending time with people and especially enjoy having our kids around.

Our kids arrival will be blissful but there are always a few wrinkles to be ironed out. Reminders have to be given: don’t park in the middle of the driveway; pick up your clothes in your room; what is appropriate to watch on TV in the family room, especially at night; and yes, letting us know what time they will be home. You see, everyone has been their own keeper in their own place and coming back home and coming together under one roof will present challenges. I have learned this through previous summers and Christmas breaks…there is always a reacquaintance, and acclimating period. After that time things usually run pretty smoothly and there is much laughter and overall…a feeding and nurturing, pouring in the positive. This time also provides extra hands to unload the groceries, take out the trash, bathe our yellow lab Daisy, among other things.

I am really looking forward to the times when our kids wander into my office for those random and casual talks that sometimes go on for hours. We easily lose ourselves in conversations that are meaningful and shed light into their hearts and desires, fears or uncertainties. These times are usually never planned, they just happen. And for this mother……it is like winning the lottery….I treasure those times.

As this time approaches, I have learned to prepare my heart for their arrival. Every time they come home they are a little older and a little more independent. I want to respect their maturity and all the while remain their mother, leading by influence instead of authority. The saying is so true…children learn more by what they see you do rather than by what you say. Kids are very smart. You cannot be “the pot calling the kettle black.” As I reflect over my own upbringing, I can see that the greatest influence my parents had was in what I watched them do!

Influence is the key as your kids become older. Influence is defined as the power affecting a person, thing or course of events, especially one that operates without any direct or apparent effort. There is no effort involved in influence. It is your daily life and how you go about living your life. For example….if I want our children to love God with all their heart, soul and mind… I live that kind of life? Am I consistent in my personal walk and talk? If I want our kids to have patience, do I model patience? Do I want our kids to be responsible with their money? Do they see me making wise choices with money? Do I want our kids to work hard? Do they see me working hard? Do I want my kids to eat healthy? Do I eat healthy?

The Bible is full of scripture that teaches we should model what we want to see in those we influence as in Proverbs 22:24, “Do not make friends with a hot tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” The Bible is quick to say in Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 tells us, “Do not be deceived, ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” And Proverbs 13: 20, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the company of fools will suffer harm.”

If you are a parent who desires the very best for your children, then know that living your life as an example is the very best influence you can have……whether we want to admit it or not……They are recorders and they usually grow up modeling not so much what they heard, they model what they observed.


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