I was sitting side-by-side with my 12-year old grandson by the pool in chaise lounges talking, looking at the stars and Mars and eating peanut M&Ms.
I said how special this was trying to create a moment out of it. I wanted this to be something he will remember as his nearly 6-foot self continues to grow and becomes a teen. (He has since passed that 6-foot marker already and he’s months away from 13. I love this age!)
He tells me in that moment I should write about this.
These are the moments. Even he recognized that it was special. Which my prayer is he will remember whenever he feels unloved. Whenever he feels abandoned. Whenever he feels confused.
Maybe he will look up at Mars and remember that his Oma loves him and that his Oma talks about Jesus all the time.
All because I said the magic words, “tell me more.”
These words mean, “I hear you.”
“What you tell me matters to me.”
“I care to hear about your experiences. Your thoughts too.”
“I’m not here to just lecture you or to talk over you.”
“You do have something interesting to say.”
“You are capable of having full thoughts and insights and I want to hear them.”
All because I stopped my life, put my phone away, turned my attention, and said “tell me more.”
And I made a previous agreement with myself to breathe deeply before I reply to anything. To not react. To trust the Holy Spirit in those moments. To not let fear hijack the moment.
I made an agreement with myself to say once again, “tell me more.”
I have practiced my “I’m not surprised face.” This one takes practice because fear wants to leak out onto my face.
I made an agreement that in such vulnerable (and fearfully beautiful moments) that I don’t want to shame. I don’t want to hear coming out of my mouth, “what, you didn’t know better?” Or judgement such as “I taught you differently.” I made an agreement with myself to respond with compassion, not judgement.
I made an agreement with myself that this may be a teachable moment full of Bible insight but I won’t share the Bible truth until my child knows I empathize first. This may or may not be the opportunity to “beat my child with the Bible” which I never would do but it has been interpreted that way.
I made an agreement with myself to not downplay the crisis as unimportant. I practice to not show my “whew, this is all it is” face. Because to my beloved this is very important.
I made an agreement with myself to ask the questions that keep my child (or grandchild) telling the story. Not using this as an opportunity to talk about myself or “When I was your age…”
I made an agreement with myself to not judge the friends I’m hearing about but show love and compassion. I will also ask if I can pray for these friends and these vulnerable situations.
I will say once again, “tell me more.”
Because maybe in that delay or maybe in continuing to let my child (or grandchild) speak, he may figure out the solution by himself. What a moment of pride that will be for your beloved! And for you too. What a memorable moment of learning! What a necessary step of adolescent development–while under your influence.
Maybe without your disruption, you may get enough information so that you can truly offer brilliant help. This is a lot of influence, which you would not have had if you didn’t keep asking “tell me more.”
I repeat this often at Bravester. Beauty comes when your decisions of bravery define you. Here are your moments. With or without peanut M&Ms.