“Are we ok?” | The Importance of Emotional Check-Ins
Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you.
Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
When I was in my thirties, I had to travel to see a medical specialist. My Dad made the trip with me. We had long periods of time to sit in a hotel room in between tests and appointments. My Dad and I were very close, so it surprised me when one evening, in the course of our conversation, he began bringing up things that he felt guilty about as a parent.
I soon realized that he was carrying baggage that he had no need to hold on to. My Dad traveled overseas frequently. On one such trip, his work was extended beyond the planned duration. He missed my high school graduation. Tears welled up and rolled down as he recalled the events. The look on his face when I told him that I was not hurt or wounded or disappointed was one of incredible relief. As our conversation continued, we talked openly and directly about things that did hurt me (most of which he did not recall) and things I had done or said that hurt his heart (most of which I did not recall). We cried and laughed. We reassured one another that in all the ups and downs of life, we had LOVE between us. At the end of the evening, he looked at me, and asked, “Are we ok?” “Yeah, Dad, we’re ok.” We left a lot of emotional baggage in that hotel room.
We know that we all make mistakes as parents. We sometimes totally blow it. We can be inattentive, we can be impatient, we can lose our temper and say things we never imagined we would say. We can be unavailable. There are no perfect parents. Many of us accept God’s grace in other areas, but have great difficulty releasing the guilt associated with parenting. Dwelling on our mistakes can rob us of the abundant life that Christ offers us.
When we know we are wrong we are to take responsibility, apologize, and ask for forgiveness. This is a powerful witness to our children and sets the pattern as an example for them to follow.
Day to day is there a way we can check in with our kids and make sure that “we” are ok?
Simple methods of doing emotional check-ins help us know how our kids are feeling and gives us room to ask the questions about friends, school, sports, disappointments, fears, and concerns…including our interaction with them.
1. Internal Weather Report: “If your mood were the weather, what would it be?” Stormy? Sunny?
2. Feelings 1-10: Rank your mood today with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.
3. Pop Culture: If your current mood were a song or a movie, what would it be? “Happy” by Pharrell or “The Grinch”
4. Highs & Lows – Have everyone in your family share the high and the low of their day.
5. Rose, Bud, Thorn – Rose – the best thing that happened. Bud – something they are looking forward to, and Thorn – the worst thing that happened.
6. Emojis – Choose the emoji that represents your feelings.
7. Mood Indicators – Some families have wooden faces that can hang on a hook. Some are happy, some are sad, some are angry, some look confused, some have no real expression. Each family member places the face that represents their mood onto their hook and this is a starting place for discussion.
Or maybe, every now and then in a quiet moment, we get their attention and simply ask, “Are we ok?”
Leave your parenting baggage at the foot of the cross. Allow God’s grace to cover your guilt. Walk in the fullness of the new life He has promised you.
Let’s talk about it…
- Do you have a favorite method of “checking in” with your kids?
- Is it hard for you to forgive yourself when you have a “mom fail”?
- What scripture brings peace to your mama’s heart?