Hide and seek

I was in the kitchen with Lucy making a recipe I’ve made for years. In fact, someone brought the meal to me when Lucy was born and I asked for the recipe. It’s a chicken tortilla soup recipe that’s perfect for a busy and cold winter night. It calls for only a few ingredients and no prep at all. Just open a few cans and dump it all in one pot. Simple!

So, I opened all the cans that needed to go in the soup and Lucy was in charge of the dumping and mixing. I handed her the chicken broth.

“I never knew there was chicken broth in this soup!” She seemed really surprised.

Then I handed her the can of refried beans.

“Beans? I never knew beans were in this soup either!”

Next the jar of salsa.

“Salsa too? Wow! It’s amazing what you learn when you cook with your mom!”

It was cute and we both laughed, but I thought to myself that I must have been doing her such a huge injustice all these years. How have I made this soup for nearly 10 years and she didn’t even know the basics of it? How did she not know that the foundation of chicken soup is chicken broth? It seems so simple, but it’s just because I never showed her.

So I made a mental note to make a better effort to show her the things she should know before it’s time for me to kick her out of the nest.

Don’t hide your affections: Be generous with hugs and kisses. And slather on the praises. It may surprise you how making a big deal over noticing that they FINALLY put their shoes away without asking makes a kid feel good. It makes them feel noticed. It makes them feel like they pleased you and it makes them want to do it again. It also teaches them that you meant it when you asked them the very first time. Maybe the next time it won’t be as big of an issue.

Don’t hide your affections with your spouse: I’m not talking about elaborate expressions of PDA because, EEW! But your children need to know you love your spouse and you aren’t afraid to show it. On the same token they need to see how the two of you handle your arguments and kiss and make up. This world is driven by a “My way or the highway” mentality these days. Your children need to see you work out any simple disagreements. And that it’s ok to disagree and move on.

Don’t hide your praises and thankfulness: I hate Winter. I just can’t stand the cold. So when I walk into my nice warm home I often say out loud, “Thank you, Lord for my warm home.” After a long drive home from vacation, when we arrive safely in the driveway I will say, “Thank you, God for a great trip and for getting us home safely.” This shows my children two things; I am thankful for the blessings and that God is always there and in and active relationship with me. Hopefully, one day they will understand the same things.

Don’t hide your prayer time: Yes, have your quiet time in private as we are called to do. And don’t flaunt the fact that you are spending time with Jesus. But don’t make a secret of it either. There are some days when I have to tell my children to leave me alone for a few minutes because I need time with Jesus to just lay a few things at His feet. They don’t need to know what those things are necessarily, but they need to know that I trust Him and can go to Him when I need Him.

Don’t hide your vulnerabilities: Lucy can’t stand it when I cry. She’ll run to my side and try to make it all better. But she needs to see that I do. She needs to know that I get scared, upset, frustrated and angry and she needs to see how I handle those emotions. Some days, I will admit, I do not handle them very well. But she needs to know that it’s ok to cry and ask for help when it’s needed.

Don’t hide your flaws: When you mess up, fess up. Because we all do. Admit your mistakes and share with your kids how you plan to fix it and move on. Ask for forgiveness if it’s needed. I’ve had to do that way more than I want to really admit.

Most of all…

Don’t hide the Gospel from your children. Share it openly, freely and find it in your every day surroundings. The love of Jesus is such good news! If that’s all you ever reveal to your kids, that will be enough!

“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

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Bethany Donham

Bethany E. Donham is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two beautiful teenage girls. She is a full time Minister to Preschoolers and Families, but has a passion for guiding others to see the world with a Biblical perspective through her writing.

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