Photo courtesy of Campbell’s Soup
5 months pregnant with our first child, I sat on the bleachers watching my husband play in a church league softball game. I was captivated by the interactions of the teenagers taking place in front of me on the bleachers. To begin with I was impressed that on a Friday night they were at a church league softball game. These teenagers stood out, they were different. Comfortably they carried on conversations with the adults surrounding them. They were the teenagers you watched in hopes that you would be so blessed one day.
Entering the scene was a nice looking teenage boy. The greeting he received from the group on the bleachers was evidence that he was liked by all. But what struck me was the beginning of his conversation with his friends. As he bounded up the bleachers, one of the girls said, “Where were you tonight, why didn’t you meet us out for dinner.” His reply, “Sorry about that, but it’s Friday night. Friday night mom makes chicken and rice, and I never miss that.”
The squeeze in my heart tightened as I thought about the little baby boy growing inside of me. Would he choose to hang out with us over his friends on a Friday night? How would we create an environment to compete with the world he would be bombarded with? What exactly did his mom do to make Friday night Chicken and Rice so spectacular? I wasn’t even that great of a cook. How would I do it?
Over time the Lord revealed to me some key lessons that I endeavor to learn.
- Relationship– it’s key. If you invest in the relationship now, you are laying the foundation for your relationship down the road. Do you spend dedicated time together? Do they feel loved and accepted? Do they know that you love them unconditionally despite their failures and shortcomings? Relationship means everything.
- Time– do you make time regularly to be together. Is that time spent doing what they want? During that time do they feel valued and loved?
- Prayer- this is the gold nugget. Prayer changes things. Prayer will change the heart of a child. Prayer will change the heart of a parent. Prayer clears the path for a rich relationship.
I hadn’t thought about this memory for many years until we were with friends about a year ago and their son triggered the memory. One of my best friends prepared a delicious mexican feast of tacos for us. Her son, Jack, walked in the room and said, “What are we having for dinner?” Stephanie replied, “Tacos.” Jack’s response revived that squeeze in my heart I felt 8 years before when he said, “But it’s not Taco Tuesday.”
You see Jack’s family created a tradition of having tacos every Tuesday. A simple meal enjoyed together each week. They knew what to expect, they longed for Tuesday to come. Acceptance, belonging, security, and love were wrapped in a taco shell.
It’s the little things. It’s the simple things. It’s the just doing it. It’s the deciding to do something, to create something. It’s making a footprint. It’s building a legacy.