(I wrote this a few days ago. It felt really dramatic so I didnt publish it. However its really something that I am learning so I felt like I should share it)
Wednesday night we went to a dinner with Freelands work. Basically, its one of the only events where spouses are able to tag along .. so what that means for me: there is no way in H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS that Im missing it! ha
kids are also invited so all 5 of us went to welcome the new interns and enjoy some dinner. (by the way we were one of only 2 families that brought their kids. rock on!)
I always walk away from nights like that super refreshed and I seriously have fun meeting all the people Freeland talks about all the time and the new people who are just joining the program. My kids also apparently walk away refreshed because neither of the boys could fall asleep until almost 10:45! ha
Anyway, when I was putting River to bed that night we were talking about our day. (which I seriously LOVE that he wants to do with me!) He told me:
"I had a lot of fun at dinner & I am shy so I just stayed on mommas lap"
Ummmm.... my heart broke.
He didnt walk away remembering all the arcade games he 'played', the huge lizard he saw, the other resident that he sat and played cars with for at least 30 minutes, hanging out with one of his favorite people (Cesar!;) or the pizza he ate.. he remembered what we said about him.
He has no idea what he was saying when he called himself shy & gave himself that label. But its what he walked away from the night remembering and knowing about himself.
Clearly, he heard us say it more than a few times and he gave himself that description because of it.
I know in some ways Im probably being over sensitive. And on the surface it really wasnt a big deal.
But the Lord impressed a much bigger picture on my heart in that moment so I felt so sensitive to the situation & when I came downstairs and told Freeland he felt the exact same way.
.. calling himself shy isnt the worst thing in the world .. it wasnt about the actual word that made me sad.. it was seeing him call himself something he heard us saying and he thought was a bad or a negative thing.
The reality sunk in much deeper that he's listening to us talk about him, describe him, and give him identity.
he repeats what he hears and that includes what he hears about himself..
So I sat there and tried to just affirm him for the next few minutes. We
talked about what it meant to be shy, why it was okay to be shy, how he
is incredibly friendly & outgoing, he has wonderful manners
& is polite and he just needs time to feel comfortable. We talked
about all the friends he has and all the great things about his
personality.. by the end of the conversation he might have thought the
only word to describe himself was "awesome!" so he may one day have a
little bit too much confidence that he needs to be talked down from. just kidding.
Side note: I could probably fill up an entire post with my thoughts on River being shy, how he gets terrified in new situations sometimes, the suggestions we get about it, what it has taught me & what it looks like and why I even think about it.. But my point wasn't to go on & on about River being shy. Especially because its not the first thing I would ever use to describe him in a normal situation.
My point was that he heard us say something about him a few times .. and because we said it about him its what he was then calling himself. And like I said, its not a bad thing but it is different and something he doesnt understand & something he thought was wrong.
How many times has he probably heard me describe him to people without me realizing it? I wonder what words Ive used and what he thought it meant? Why do we even feel the need to point out that he is being shy or apologize for him? He is 3 years old surrounded by 100 people trying to say hi.
And what has Wylder heard me say about him? Even when we are joking we call him our "wild child" and a "hot mess" and probably a ton of other terms that we mean enduring but he wont understand that.
Anyway, Im thankful River repeated it so I could explain to him what it meant. And Im so thankful to learn & see things like this in his life right now. One day I know he will experience these things outside our home and have to walk through knowing his identity comes from the Lord & not what others say about him. But for now.. it comes from us telling him who he is and what the bible says!
Praise the Lord for revealing another layer of what it means when he says there is power in the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21) How our kids hear us talking & repeat us is something I knew & have probably had tons of conversations about with friends.. (trust me, I know he hears us & repeats us.. he's said his fair share of "crap" and other words before!) but its not until one of our kids repeats what I say about him that it clicks!
The Lord is making my heart sensitive and humbling me in situations that on the surface dont seem like that big of a deal.. but when I dig deeper he reveals them more powerfully than I realized. He is creating a strong desire in me to have our home be a place of security, love, acceptance, nourishment, and refuge. A dwelling place for our family. Slowly he is revealing to me practical ways to do this and other things that will take away from that it.
Im so thankful that we are constantly learning new things about ourselves, our kids, and parenthood. Such an easy lesson: our kids hear us talk, they hear us describe them & give them identity.. so I can make sure the things I am speaking over him & about him are life giving and things he can understand that build him up.