Moms Influence Other Kids Too – Not Just Their Own

Shuffling into my kitchen with a pile of groceries, I was surprised to find my daughter’s friend standing by the counter after school.

I smiled at her, breathless from dragging in the bags. “Hi! It’s nice to see you! But, I thought you were grounded…?”

“Oh, I am. Just not from your house.”

Hmmm. I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.

“I thought you were grounded from everything.”

“My parents like it when I’m here. I’m never grounded from your house.”

My daughter and this dear friend had been buddies for three solid years. She called herself my fourth child, and insisted on placing her artwork in my dining room china cabinet next to my own kids’ artwork. During those years, we occasionally took her to church, arranged for her to go to church camp twice and she stayed overnight numerous times watching movies and just hanging out. I loved her spirit.

This friend grew from an adorable middle schooler in the 8th grade, to an increasingly restless sophomore in high school. Omitting the details, her choices made my daughter uncomfortable enough that eventually, they parted ways as friends, remaining occasional acquaintances. The friend leaving our school to attend another helped solidify that decision.

Recently, this lost friend sent two Twitter messages to my daughter after not speaking to her in nearly a year. One message read, ‘I saw a show about bunnies and was thinking about how we used to play with your pet bunny.’ The second message read, ‘Tell your Mom I sometimes pick up the bible she gave me and I do read it.’

What a moment. It was the truth that I tend to ignore, or find myself too busy to pay attention to: We affect the youth around us, whether the kids are in our life for three years or a single day.

I had forgotten about the brief conversations I had with this girl about faith, the importance of self-respect when dating guys, and so on. I definitely forgot that I handed her a bible one night.

My daughter reading the tweet made me think of the countless afternoons my kitchen is piled in with half the lacrosse team or field hockey team, coming over for quick one-hour snack and drink visits in between school ending and the 5pm games starting. While I expend effort to make sure the food is good and the music is on (these are high schoolers after all!), I am reminded that even the briefest words, the quick compliments, and gosh, sometimes just a smile is a gift to a teenager.

During the birthday parties, sleepovers, study groups and any other time kids are around the house, I will remember that God put these lives in my path. Even for those who might be in our family for a very short season, I must intentionally look at them, hear them and lift them up.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…1 Thess 5:11

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26 thoughts on “Moms Influence Other Kids Too – Not Just Their Own

  1. gardengirl92 says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading through some of your blog posts about family and raising kids. I have 2 teenagers and a 20 year old myself so your posts really hit home. I can’t wait to read more. The continuing saga of parenting teens is never boring, that’s for sure!

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  2. realsomefoya says:

    This is a great example why it’s never a bad idea to have the kids (i.e., team, scouts, etc.) meet at Your house. Having the opportunity to speak into a child’s life is a great privilege and responsibility!

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  3. verawrites says:

    Thanks for this beautiful reminder, Mama Duck 🙂 As one not blessed with the gift of motherhood, I hope to be a positive and godly influence on the children in my life circles. Thanks for visiting my blog; I look forward to sharing your nuggets with my mom and non-mom friends!

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  4. Gracie Rae says:

    We too have had a number of “extra” children in our home over the years, most who call us mama and dad, have no problem making themselves at home and digging in the fridge, knowing they don’t need to ask, or asking me to mend a piece of clothing. Have a few who have needed mama time and hopped in bed and snuggled with me and the other kids to watch a show, just needing the attention they didn’t get at home. They have a special place in our hearts and we feel they think the same of us. Sometimes it takes a village.

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  5. covenantheirs says:

    I love your heart…for the kids God has placed in around your home and life. We never know how our love in action will impact a young life for the Kingdom. Keep on keeping on!

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  6. Pocketful of Motherhood says:

    This is a great post and reminder that we can be a light to all we encounter. It’s great that you were able to make a positive impact in the life of that girl. You’ve probably helped her more than you know! 🙂

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  7. atimetoshare says:

    We should never underestimate the influence we have on children. They are forming beliefs and ideals in their young lives which will carry them through life. Nice post. Thanks

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  8. aviets says:

    I always felt like I was “mom” for the whole crew, not just our own kids – I know just what you mean. We spent a lot of time at school events, rehearsals, competitions, etc, at which we got to spend quite a bit of time with the kids our three hung out with the most. I had a pretty good idea of the backgrounds of most of the kids, and was always very aware that they all needed as many adults talking to them, paying attention to them, and caring about them as possible. They were in and out of our house at all hours for years, and knew they were always welcome (and would find a snack and a smile). For me, it was an important “side effect” of parenting my own three. 🙂 -Amy at http://www.momgoeson.wordpress.com

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    • Family to the 5 Power! says:

      Hi Amy – Thank you for sharing your story about all the teens you connected with as well over the years. What you said about them feeling “welcome” is really important for teens (as are the snacks!). Thanks so much for visiting my blog this morning. I appreciate it :).

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