Dare 15 – The Respect Dare – Where Is Your Treasure? – For Parents of 20-Somethings

Several years ago as I was finishing up some bills at my desk, I had the urge to call my son who was away at college. Looking at the clock, I hesitated. “Maybe he’s in bed”, I thought to myself. “It is almost 11:00.” I knew it was wishful thinking on my part to believe that a college student would actually be in bed that time of night, but I talked myself out of the call anyway.

At the time I had no idea that my husband who was in the other room was having the same urge to call the same son around the same time. As I came into the bedroom, I saw my husband hang up the phone. You see, he had followed his instinct and called. The only problem was that he got voicemail.

Within minutes, the phone rang. It was our oldest returning our call. “Dad, sorry I couldn’t get to the phone. I was at the gym when you called. I’ve got some friends taking me to the hospital. I think I may have broken my foot. I’ll call you when I know more.”

Of course, as a mother standing on the sidelines listening to one side of the conversation, I had a million and one questions. My husband encouraged me to go to bed telling me we’d probably know the answer in a few hours. With the ringer on the phone turned up as loud as it could go, I reluctantly climbed in bed.

I don’t know about you, but these are times when as a mother, I realize what treasures my children really are. When they are hurting I want to be there for them, hold them in my arms, and assure them everything is going to be okay. But here I was more than a two hour drive away and I was helpless. I still had no real data. Only the parting words my son gave my husband, “Dad, I think this is really bad.”

It’s times like this that I not only treasure my children, and my husband for following his instincts, but I also treasure my father in heaven who loves my children more than I do. He is their creator and I have to put my trust in him to take care of them (after all, they’re His children, too). It’s totally up to Him when I can’t be there.

Matthew 6:20-21

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

At 3 am the phone woke me from a restless sleep. “Someone is taking me back to my apartment, Mom. The doctor said it’s shattered. I have to be back at the hospital at 9 am for surgery.”

A Mother’s Nightmare.

At 6 am I woke once again to make the two hour drive. Wouldn’t you know it, several inches of snow lay on the road with schools closed. The interstate was shut down close to our home. It didn’t matter. I would be there to pick him up. He does need to know that I treasure him.

By the grace of God, I did arrive to pick him up on time. I helped him gather the things he would need. “Mom, you didn’t need to make the trip. I could have managed. I have friends that could have taken me.”

“Matt, I know. But you do realize that I wanted to be here for you if at all possible.”

“Yeah, Mom. I know. I do appreciate it,” he grinned.

It’s easy as parents to be there for our adult children when they are physically hurting. It’s easier to treasure the relationship with them when they most likely are willing to accept our help. But the real question is, “Are you there for them when they are emotionally hurting?” Do you treasure them when they think they’ve got it all together or won’t accept your advice?

Our children are our legacy. Dare you to reach out to your 20-something today to show them how much you treasure them.

“Let go…and let God”,

Hope you will join Nina Roesner as she provides insight on marriage and Leah Heffner as she blogs to wives with little people as we go through The Respect Dare together.

DARE 12 – The Respect Dare – They Still Need Me? – For Parents of 20-Somethings

Sitting on the back patio in the early morning savoring the spring sunshine and cup of coffee, Sally was still in her PJ’s. Their backyard was private enough that she loved going out there to spend quiet time with God. Her teens were already at school and Alex, her twenty-three year old son was at work. As she sat their contemplating Alex’s recent announcement that he would be moving out next month, Sally’s heart sang. Not that he was moving out, mind you, but that the year had been a success.

Shortly after graduation from college, Alex had announced that he had landed an awesome job nearby. “Would you mind if I live with you guys for a year to get my finances in order and pay down my student loans?” he asked.

Jeff and Sally were feeling good that their son was even willing to consider moving back in with them after being on his own for four years. “Alex, of course you can move back home!”

As the day drew closer for graduation, Sally decided to give Alex a call. “Son, you know that we love you and are happy to help you get on your feet financially this year. We just want to make a couple of things clear before you move all your stuff in. You know that we still have your younger brother living at home. I know you are now an adult, but for this to be successful we are going to need you to abide by the same rules that existed while you were living here in high school. We will expect you to be home at a reasonable hour and we will still want you to let us know when you are going somewhere and when you expect to be back.”

“Mom, I’m going to be working. That shouldn’t be a problem at all.”

“Alex, this is for one year. At that point, we’ll reassess. One more thing,” she paused. “You know that your dad and I love you with all our heart. I want this to be a good year. It isn’t going to be easy for us to have you back home and it isn’t going to be easy for you to live with the rules that you’ve had freedom from for four years. Can we agree that if you have a problem with something we’re doing, you’ll talk to us about it? The same goes for us. Our goal is that you won’t leave anxious for freedom again. Our goal is that when you leave here in a year, we’ll be good friends.”

“Mom, it will be fine. It will work. I promise.”

As Sally continued to enjoy her coffee, she smiled at what the year had meant to her and Jeff. They really were best friends with …

Just then her cell phone rang. “Mom, I need your help!” It was Alex. “I’ve done something really stupid and I need you to come get me at work.”

“Okay, let me get a shower and I’ll be there shortly. Maybe we can do lunch?”

“No, Mom, you don’t understand! I need you to get dressed and come get me now! You need to drive me to a client’s office and drive me back to work. I took the bus today, so my car is sitting at the park-n-ride. I’m sorry to take you away from whatever you are doing today, but this is serious. Please just come!”

Sally quickly sat her cup in the sink and was dressed and out the door within minutes.

The longer she was in the car for the 45 minute drive, the more upset she became. How dare her son think that whatever he was dealing with was more important than her day? No shower, no makeup, and she was driving to go solve whatever her 23 year old son had messed up! She needed to let him know that she couldn’t just drop everything for him. She had a life too.

As her angry thoughts took hold, she knew she was going to let him verbally have it! This is ridiculous! He’s 23 for heaven’s sake. It’s time to handle your own problems!

Just then the words from a couple of Daughters of Sarah scriptures took hold.

Ephesians 4:29

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

James 1:19

…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

“Okay, Lord. I hear you,” she breathed. “Just listen. My job is to listen. This isn’t about me. I need to forget that he is my son and that I’m his mother. This is a friend who needs my help. I’m being the feet of Jesus to Him like I would any of my other friends.”

The more she prayed for Alex, not having any clue why she was actually going to pick him up, it dawned on her. “It must be a desperate situation for a 23 year old to feel the need to call his mother to come get him. That had to be really humiliating.”

“Respect! That’s it! I need to respect that he is a friend in need and not grill him on what he messed up this time.”

As parents, when our adult children need our help, we need to remember that most likely it is difficult for them to ask for our help. Our job is to listen and be available. It isn’t about them taking advantage of our generosity, sometimes it about us just being their friend.

“Let go…and let God”,

Be sure to join Nina Roesner and Leah Heffner and they blog with me through The Respect Dare.

Dare 12 – The Respect Dare – It’s Not About ME? – For Parents of Tweens & Teens

Cornered as we walked into church on Sunday morning, I watched another mom reach out to my junior high son just steps ahead of me. “Not so fast,” she murmured, “we need to talk with your mom.” Not even allowing him to speak, she ushered my 13 year old son over to me. I watched as he bowed his head in shame knowing what was coming next.

“You would not believe what your son did yesterday!” she hissed. “Do you know the kind of things that your son is doing to animals? He’s torturing them…torturing them and then laughing about it to his friends! You need to know that what he is doing is absolutely sick! I heard all about it when he was in my car yesterday. Your poor cat! Did you know that he stuck that poor kitten into a …”

Luckily, this was not my first time encountering one-of-those moms. In the past, I had handled these situations all wrong, frustrated that my child had embarrassed me in front of another adult! Horrified at what they were being accused of, I would make sure to take my child down a notch or two in front of the other mom, allowing her to see that I was a ‘good’ mom who took my parenting role seriously.

Truth be known, and I do hate to admit it, I’ve been one of those moms myself when my kids were younger. You know….sitting there in judgment…wanting to make sure that I played the role of traffic cop well, radar
watching for any offense that I saw as being wrong. “After all”, I reasoned, “if I don’t point out this weakness in a kid to his parents, then it can’t be dealt with. I would want to know if my child did something like this. I need to do the same for other parents.”

Whoa…faulty thinking on my part!!


With time, I had learned the error of my ways. This time, I was more prepared to salvage the relationship with my son rather than prove that I was a good mom…rather than believe that the adult side of the story was right when I knew there were two sides. I had learned through scripture and experience that my son deserved a fair trial.

…And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8b

“Lord, help me to take a deep breath and walk humbly with you in this situation.” I muttered to myself.

After taking our verbal chastisement from Mrs. Gibson, I assured her that I would speak to my son about it and thanked her for her concern. Quickly, I swept my son out of the woman’s sight with arms around his back laughingly asking him, “Are you alright?”

With a sheepish nod, he replied, “Mom, it wasn’t like that at all!

“It’s okay, son, we’ll work through it. I know you well enough that there has to be another side to this story. We’ll talk about it after lunch this afternoon. Don’t worry about Mrs. Gibson. Just go enjoy Sunday school with your friends.”

He gave me a slight smile as I winked at him, assuring him that we’d get through the ordeal with the now dreaded, Mrs. Gibson.

As I expected, Mrs. Gibson’s version was far from what I thought my son was capable of conjuring up on his own.

“Son, so tell me what happened yesterday when you were in the car with Mrs. Gibson.”

As my son rattled off the events of the previous day, the light bulb began to illuminate. Oh my, these weren’t his stories…these were stories his dad had told him about pranks he remembered being played during his college days! I wasn’t sure if I was more upset that my husband had actually shared those stories with our kids or horrified to think that my son might have actually considered doing something similar on his own.

“Son, did you ever do that to our cat?” I ventured.

“Mom, you know how it is with us guys. We sometimes do stupid stuff, and I will admit that one time I stuck her in the old microwave out in the garage. But it wasn’t plugged in! We intended to get her out right away, but you remember, the door got stuck and Dad had to take it apart to get the cat out. I felt horrible! I would never intentionally hurt Duchess!”

“It was the same way, yesterday,” he continued. “Mark, James, and I laughed retelling the story of Duchess, and one thing led to another, and James told us what his dad had done to the dog when it died, and the stories just kept getting more and more exaggerated. Mrs. Gibson thought they were all true and started yelling at us before we had a chance to explain.”

“So she doesn’t know the truth?” I asked, trying to hide the laughter that was welling up inside me.

“I guess not.”

As we put together a plan for him to redeem himself with Mrs. Gibson, I thanked God that I had kept my cool with my son after Mrs. Gibson’s reprimand. My husband and I would have a good laugh about this one tonight behind closed doors. Boys at this age can get themselves in the strangest predicaments!

BOTTOM LINE: Our Kid’s behavior is not about us! We sometimes want to think that it is…but it isn’t. Our first inclination is to “prove” that we are good parents by giving other parents what they want…some sort of chastisement for what they see as a child’s sin. In reality parenting is about helping our children know that we will always believe in their innocence until they are proven guilty. If we listen to both sides, before passing judgment, we have a better chance of building relationship even through the trials of the tween and teen years.

Dare you to ask questions next time a situation appears to incriminate your child, holding your tongue until all sides have spoken.

Learning beside you.

“Let go…and let God”

Be sure to join Nina Roesner and Leah Heffner as we blog through The Respect Dare together!

Dare 11 – The Respect Dare – Whatever we pay attention to Grows – For Parents of 20-Somethings

Marilyn was beyond upset! She wondered if Ashlee would ever grow up. “You would think that at 25 she would get it!!” she complained to Martin. She had already spouted to her husband several of the grievances that she had against her daughter. Marilyn continued to rant.

“She promised! Her younger sister called and asked for her assistance and she said yes! Tori called her three times and texted her as well. They agreed to meet at 3:00. I planned my entire weekend around the two of them meeting! Tori and I were planning to go shopping for school clothes and then get her hair cut. We changed our whole day’s schedule around Ashlee’s availability. Then Ashlee doesn’t even show up or call Tori to tell her she’s not coming! Martin, that is absolutely unacceptable.”

“I agree. But she did call me and explain what was going on.”

“Yeah, after the fact! She had an agreement with Tori, not you.”

“You’re right. I should have made sure she called Tori back.”

Just then Martin’s phone rang. It was Ashlee. “She’s on her way, but won’t have very long,” muttered Martin.

“It’s been hours since they were supposed to meet. Here we are now ready to walk out the door and she calls and says she is suddenly free? It’s like she expects us to just be available whenever she just happens to have time? I don’t get it!”

Marilyn was fired up! It was a good thing Ashlee wasn’t around at that moment. Marilyn knew she would give her a piece of her mind! She could tell that Martin was spinning up too. He was probably more angry than she was.

Later that evening, Marilyn was sitting in her favorite bedroom chair with her bible and journal. “Lord, help me to see truth in this situation with Ashlee. Help me to see what is lovely in my daughter. Help me to understand what is going on.”

As she spent time in prayer her thoughts became more focused on the situation. “Ashlee did have something really important that came up. She did call her dad and explain the reason she wasn’t there. So, Lord, why am I so upset about what happened. Is it because it ruined my day?”

The longer she sat there she knew the answer. “I want the girls to be close. I want them to always be there for each other. What I really wanted was for Ashlee to call her sister because I want the connection to always be there,” she thought. “Tori seemed really hurt by the lack of empathy from her sister.”

Because Tori hurt, Marilyn hurt for her.

Marilyn arranged a special lunch with Ashlee later in the week. As they sat there talking Marilyn chose not to dwell on what happened. She chose instead to emphasize her desires. “Ashlee, you know how much your sister idolizes you, don’t you? She is working really hard to connect with you. I know something came up last weekend and that you couldn’t meet with her like you two had planned, but can I encourage you to call her more often, even if it is just to check in with her?”

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on such things.”

As parents, sometimes we want to step in and tell our 20-somethings what they did that was wrong. Depending on their personality and their level of independence, they may not be able to handle the “parenting” we want to give them. Instead of focusing on the negative behavior, try emphasizing the behavior you want to see more of and explain why you would like to see it.  Whatever we pay attention to GROWS!

Dare you to try to take a difficult situation and try to address it in the positive.

“Let go…and let God”,

Be sure to join Nina Roesner and Leah Heffner as we blog through The Respect Dare together!