Family Letters, Because it Does Matter
By Georgette Beck
Dear Parents of Young Children,
Love your little ones greatly. Love your little ones every way you know how to. Let each of them know how loved and special they are. Show them you love them by showing up in their lives. Show them you love them by hugging them daily. Show them you love them by being their greatest cheerleaders.
Your little ones will not be little for long. Take my word for it and take every parents’ word for it who have raised children. The years fly by. I know you don’t realize it now, for you are in the weeds by friends. You can barely get through some of those days. No matter though, your little ones will be teenagers and then out on their own living their own lives. Please understand how important it is right now, right this second, on what you say to them and on how you spend time with them, and on how you live life with them. What you say matters. How you respond to them matters. Even what you don’t say matters, yes, even those non-verbal eye rolls or shoulder shrugs.
The greatest commodity to your children is you! All they want is to just spend time with you and then more time after that. They ENJOY YOU greatly! They love you JUST AS YOU ARE. What a treasure, a priceless treasure. Someday, they will learn more about themselves, the world, and you. They may not always understand, trust me. Fill those love tanks NOW and SOAK up their unconditional love, all you can get during their younger years. What you sow now, you will reap later. Every single seed has a harvest. What will yours be? How you treat them now is how you will be treated later. If they matter now, you will matter to them later. If you value your relationship with them, so will value the relationship they have with you later.
May every word and every action speak volumes and shout out how much you love them and how much potential they have.
Dear Parents of Young Adults and Teenagers,
Believe in your sons and daughters, the future men and women of our great world. Let your lives portray what you believe in and what matters most to you. I pray that what matters most to you truly matters in the whole scheme of things.
Again, what you sow now, you will reap later. Every single seed planted has a harvest time. What will yours be? How you treat them now is how you will be treated later. If they matter now, you will matter to them later. If you value your relationship with them, so will value the relationship they have with you later. Communicate in love and patience. Allow them some space to make their own decisions. Allow them to deal with their own consequences. Teach them responsibility and how to be accountable for themselves, this will save their lives later. Model to them how to love and respect people in all of your conversations and actions with everyone you interact with. Help them discover what their talents and gifts are and find ways to develop those areas in their lives.
Love your older children with all you got! Stay involved in their life even if they act like they hate having you around. Stay committed to them and to their causes. Act as their faithful trusted advisors and consultants. They may not act like they value your wisdom now, but they are listening, and they will come to value all you impart to their seemingly un-listening ears.
What your young adults see at home is what they will come to expect for themselves. How you treat each other, mom and dad, is how they will someday allow others to treat them. Your children can sense if there is respect and love in their homes. They know the truth. Later, their lives will reflect ALL you have taught them, visibly and not-so-visibly.
Spend time with your children anyway you can. Pray about creative ways to connect and find common ground. Find causes in your community to support as a family. Families that pray together stay together, yes, this is true, but better than that is this; families that find important causes bigger themselves to get involved in together, find purpose together, and stay connected in powerful positive ways that have life-long implications. May “family night” be a tradition in your home until every last child has left the nest and then may you all come up with a whole new way of having your new “family night” adventures.
Dear Parents of all Ages,
Please remember to take care of your marriage. Please do all you can to invest in having a healthy marriage. Take the time to learn about yourself and about your spouse. Share what you learn to each other. What is your family background? What are your personality traits? How do you communicate and why is that? Discover your gifts and talents. Talk about how best to incorporate those specific gifts and talents into your marriage and family and household. Create a loving and fun home. Have healthy boundaries. Commit to having a weekly date night with each other, no matter what comes up. Go out even if you are not speaking to each other. Why? Because it matters greatly to you now and to your marriage later and to your children later. Now you are showing them how spouses should be treating each other. Now you are saying to your wife or to your husband how much you love them and value them and desire to spend time with them. Investing in each other creates happy hearts. Filling your own love tanks keeps you both happy and interested in each other. Having a healthy marriage means having a marriage in the long run. Having a marriage in the long run ensures the stability of each of your children and your future grandchildren.
Grow with each other. Take classes together. Love life together. Deal with any issues from your past. Deal with any issues from misunderstandings in your marriage. All of the work you do now matters. Treat each other like gold and appreciate all of the good and ignore the difficult stuff that drive you crazy, because we all of those traits which drive others crazy. LOVE much, FORGIVE often, APPRECIATE everything, and be GRATEFUL – there is always something to be grateful for. What you pay attention to grows. What are you paying attention to? Keep your thoughts on noble items.
Divorce is a living death for every single heart in your family. Divorce has lasting, life-long impact. Divorce hurts more than any other painful event or loss you have ever endured. Most hearts do not survive and their life reflects the devastation and destruction. ALL hearts carry the wounds of broken hearts.
LOVE your children by loving each other and doing what it takes to LIVE LOVE LOUDLY!
Dear Young Adults and Teenagers,
Please understand how much your parents love you. The majority of parents out there, most likely yours, love you to pieces. Some parents came from backgrounds that taught them how to show this love they have for you. Others were not so blessed.
Dear beautiful hearts, your parents are real people. I know, it’s a shock, but they are. No, they may not know everything, but they have learned and know more than you do right at this very second. They have learned things the hard way and they do wish to protect you from having to make some of those hurtful mistakes. Please give them a break. Please be kind in how you treat them. Be respectful. Show honor. God does say to honor your parents; this does bring you long life. Be grateful for all you can be grateful for. Do your parents make mistakes? Absolutely. They blow it, believe me, you and they know it too. Most parents wish they could go back and redo all of those painful memories and recreate events to ensure happy memories instead.
Divorce hit your family? Believe me when I tell you this, most moms and dads regret this horrible circumstance and wish with all of their hearts it could have been avoided. The divorce destroyed your parents too. Your parents survived a horrific event. Please know how much their heart hurt, for a very long time and still to this day carries many wounds, some too painful to touch or even discuss with others about. When you get older, you will gain more insight and understanding. You will come to know your parents were not malicious towards each other or you on purpose. People do harmful things when under great pressure and stress.
The divorce was not your fault. Divorce happens because two people made mistakes. Divorce is not just one person’s fault. There is accountability and responsibility – on your parent’s part. It takes two on a continual basis to have a healthy marriage. It takes a lot of work and it takes time to learn how best to do it all. Forgive your parents. Forgiving them is not excusing them for hurting you. Communicate to each of them how they may have hurt you. Be honest and respectful in your telling. Forgiving them frees you. It frees you to go on with your life to the best of your ability. Divorce happens for many reasons and there are too many dynamics involved to understand each divorce fully. Give grace to your parents. What you sow, you reap. How you treat your parents is how others will treat you. How you respond to them is exactly how others will respond to you and how they will someday respond to your future children. What goes around usually does come back ground. May what you give out, be good and kind, so you reap nothing but wonderful blessings. Every single person, of every single age, makes mistakes. Every person needs a break. Yes, we all need to learn from our mistakes and try better next time. We are all sinners and have all fallen short, this is why we need a savior and this is why Jesus came to save us. Even Christian parents fall and slip up. Pray for them. Pray for yourself.
Get involved in your community. Learn about your family issues. Learn about yourself. What are your gifts and talents? Follow your heart! God places dreams within your heart. Pursue them with all you’ve got. Dream Big. Pray hard. Take chances. Be kind to yourself and others, especially your parents. You are amazing! You have great potential. Stand tall. Have a fabulous life.
Remember though, love your parents anyhow and love them hard. You will not always have them with you and deep down; you know you love them no matter what their mistakes were. Take the time to show them this truth and to tell them as much as you can. Learn all you can from them, especially learn from what did not work out so great. Go on and do something powerful in the world with your gained wisdom. Your parents pray for you and dream for you. Your parents cry over the hurts and wounds in your heart. They wish you could be loved greatly always and always know what your true worth is. All your parents want, just like you want, is to be loved, appreciated. They want to matter. You want to matter. Matter to each other.
Have mercy. You are in a “family” not of your choice or your selection. Believe you me, you and everyone else knows this fact. Your blended “fam” came about from a broken home and a broken marriage. This new foundation is built upon some sad, sorrowful memories. It is also built upon grace, hope, and mercy. Yes, you are upset, hurt, and angry. Your parents and stepparents are too…for they also endured heart break and major loss and endured many sleepless tear-filled evenings.
Your situation is full of MIXED BLESSINGS. God is a God of second chances. I hope you can understand this someday. You will come to appreciate this fact about God. You too will need, wish, and pray for second chances in your own lives. God does wish for your heart to be healed. God also wishes for your dad and your mom and for your stepparent’s hearts to be healed. God loves people. He loves you and he loves all of those in your life. God uses many people to add to your life, but only if you allow this to occur. Yes, God may even have selected your specific stepparent(s) to be in your life. I am sure your mom or dad prayed for forgiveness and for help and for second chances. I am also sure God had something to do with how they ended up with these strangers in your life. Sadly, some parents continue to make more mistakes, being in pain seems to increase the likelihood of mistakes occurring. Again, pray for your parents. Forgive your parents. Have mercy on your parents. Most parents will continue on in their lives trying to be better individuals and trying to do right by you. Every human being deserves love and this includes your mom and dad. They each deserve a partner in this life. Don’t hold it against your mom or dad for trying to grow and heal and move on in their lives. Can they do everything right while trying to move on in life? No, but they do try.
Your stepparent also deserves love in their life, just like you do. You deserve to matter. They deserve to matter too. This person can be to you all of what you allow to occur, especially if they have an open heart towards you. A blended situation is tricky and at times hard on everyone, not just on you.
Your “parental” figures may make some great decisions that affect you and yikes, they may make some decisions you do not agree with or that cause you pain. No matter what, the more you pray and extend grace, the better off you will be.
If you remain open to your new place in life, you may be pleasantly surprised. Remember though, all relationships take two parties, you and your step, to make it a great relationship or a bad relationship or a neutral relationship (which in my opinion is worse than any relationship). Some “steps” can be jerks, we get this, all people fall under this category once in a while or a lot, regardless, many “steps” can be wonderful people who if given a chance by you, can become a great blessing to you someday. Someday you will become an adult. You will realize that people and good relationships, especially with your parents, are a valued cherished blessing.
If you love what your mom and your dad love, you will reap the blessings of closer healthier mutually beneficial relationships. You may not care now, but someday you will and someday having nice family moments will be important. Creating new traditions with your dad’s family and with your mom’s family will ensure your family having positive memories. What you sow, you reap. If you sow nothing toward these individuals, you will have nothing in the end.
Your heart desires to be healed. Facing the tough issues now and trying your best for peaceful loving relationships will bring you a loving special harvest. Every person wants to fit in. You want to fit in. Your “step” also wants to fit in. There is a place for every single person in your life. If you can understand now, this great truth, the more people in your life that actually desire to have a relationship with you, the better off you are. You will be more whole and lead a fuller life. God uses strangers to be “family” to His children all of the time.
Embrace life, as you can, when you can, but don’t let all of those years go by without having tried, without having pursued help and information, without forgiving your parents for having a divorce, and forgiving them for actually wanting a new person in their lives. May you personally never to come to know the truth of a divorce in your own life as an adult, never, never, and never.
Focus on giving you to the world. Be a positive helpful value-added you. Being open for relationships is your choice. No one said “step” relationships were easy, no, contrary, they are not easy. There are too many generational dynamics coming into play. With God though, all things are possible. He can restore to you what had been lost. He can redeem and make new. Learn to see what your “mixed blessings” mean for you and yours. The happiest memories are made with the craziest of people at times. Your “family” may now look and feel entirely different than what your young heart once upon a time thought upon, but this does not mean your young heart has to keep those expectations any longer. You are after all, growing and are becoming more wise and lovely as every day passes.
You can create for you a loving life now, by trying now to give forgiveness and grace and love. Your dad and mom always want the best for you. Your “step” does too. They will never be your mom or dad, but they can be someone special in your life, someone you learn from and someone you come to appreciate. When you come to those places, tell them, because most likely they will not know. Silence shares no truth with anyone, except mistruth and plenty of misunderstandings. Your “step” has a heart too and they do experience hurt feelings, oh this is very true. You acting out towards them will never erase the divorce from your family history. Causing hurt only causes you hurt down the road. Remember the concept of what goes around comes around? You may not wish to test this principle, unless you give out all positive!
Dear Everyone Else,
This world is hard enough to live in at times. Life is too short to hold onto grudges and unforgiving attitudes. It’s not worth it. Surrender. Let go and let God. Be you in this world and be the awesome great person you are. Everyone benefits.
Stepparents, teachers, pastors, professionals, service members, law officers, fire personnel – live love out loud. Be gracious, just cause this is the best way to be. You need plenty of grace daily, so does every single person you encounter on a daily basis. People may have had a tough way to go, they may be having a difficult time now, be that one person who makes all of the difference in their lives right now, in a good helpful impactful way.
Truly, just love each other. Forgive each other. Be patient. Help each other. Increase the good in the world. There is good in the midst of all the junk you hear about. Keep being the people increasing the good. What you do matters. It matters greatly.
Heart matters touch every single heart on our planet. Healthy hearts live longer, yes, but healthy hearts dream better too and create beauty wherever they may find themselves.