About 400 times a week, I find myself in the car with my kids, maybe one, maybe both. I used to hate all that driving, now I love it.
Parenting my kids has moved from hours and hours together when they were small, to short, frequent interactions that need to have more impact in less time. Instead of being frustrated by this, I am embracing it. Honestly, I am probably better received in small doses anyway. It keeps me from rambling on, saying the same thing fourteen times in different words in an attempt to get through to their brains.
I try to think ahead to those quick 10-15 minutes I have in the car with them as a captive audience. I either ask them what they are looking at on their phone (of course they are looking at their phone) or ask them to put the phone down to talk about their day or something that has been on my mind. I choose to engage with them where they are, instead of trying to drag them to where I am, which invariably pulls my back out anyway, literally and figuratively. Like most other human beings on earth, they don’t care what I have to say until they assess what benefit it has to them.
Their thought processes might be tangled up in teenage hormones and middle school angst but if I invalidate that process all I am doing is making myself irrelevant.
So we talk.
Yesterday I sat through about an hour of One Direction genealogy. I had no idea Louis had so many siblings. I was very happy to hear that a couple of years ago Harry’s mom finally married the man that was so influential in raising him. But when I show my daughter that I care about the stuff that matters to her, she does two things: she wants to talk to me more, and she cares about what I have to say. You would be shocked how many teachable moments come out of the One Direction fandom, if I am paying attention with an eye to relate. 1D moms, here’s a starter: not all of Louis’ siblings have the same dad. Discuss.
Sometimes I come to the car more prepared than others. I might come with a topic or scripture to discuss. It’s like a mini, mobile Bible study. Then I text them the verse after I drop them off (before I start driving home, of course). Because texting them is meeting them where they are.
Guess what? God did the same thing with us.
He met us where we were, by providing prophets, by abiding with us in the dessert in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night (Exodus 13:21), by sending his Son to relate to us so intimately, in such a relevant way that His words still resonate- even with unbelievers. Jesus took everyday things, fishing, eating, walking, losing a coin or finding a lost sheep, and He made them into parables or ways He could teach us something. He preserved His word so effectively so we can study it thousands of years after its writing and still gain new and current understanding. [speaking of current understanding, check out our bible study]
God didn’t try to drag us into perfect holiness, but rather accepts our human condition and provides a path through His Son for relationship and sanctification in spite of it. I love Psalm 103:14 “for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” I am comforted by it. It makes me want to reach out for Him, to know Him and have a relationship with Him. And it gives me reason to believe that it’s possible for me to do the things He wants me to.
Very similar to the response in my kids. Isn’t that interesting? Because my kids, and me, and my husband, and my friends…we are all built the same. We want relationship, but often screw it up. I am so thankful for the cross that built a bridge in relationship with my heavenly Father.
And I am thankful for the mom taxi and texting and yes, One Direction, that help me build a bridge in relationship with my kids.