And just like THAT...it's FALL! The weather is beginning to get cooler, school is in session and the leaves are starting to turn. I love living in a place that has evident changes all four seasons. Every time a new season rolls around it’s like a little reminder that we change too. That in our lives we go through times of growth, times of expectant waiting, times where we need to let go of things…and fall is my favorite. When I see those leaves changing into their beautiful red and golden hues it takes my breath away. It’s almost like God is painting the scenery to say “Hey, check this out, look at the intricate detail in these leaves. Slow down and bask in my glory displayed.” And then of course, there’s stepping on crunchy leaves, who doesn’t enjoy that? Then again, sometimes I feel like that crunchy leaf. Shriveled, dried up, and on the ground waiting to be stepped on. Today’s world is tough. Being a parent is even tougher at times. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is incredibly true. We all reach a breaking point, we all get worn down, we all say things we shouldn’t and do things we regret.
What’s amazing about the leaves changing and falling is that it’s not just one leaf. It’s a bunch of them, enough to make a pile to jump in. You are not alone in the struggle to parent, or even not parenting. Every single person goes through tough times. You are not alone. One of the biggest lessons my kids get from me is…. wait for it…..apologizing. I have to apologize a lot. Nothing is quite as humbling as having to apologize to the people you are supposed to be responsible for because you were acting their age. But you know what, I’ve noticed that they have started apologizing without being prompted. So even in remedying my mistakes they are learning.
Any gardener will tell you that pruning is an essential part of healthy plants. Dead leaves and buds must be snipped of in order to make way for new, fresh, beautiful growth. So when we fail, and find ourselves dried up, crumpled and on the ground waiting to be stepped on, we need to remember that without that fall, new growth couldn’t come. Maybe we need to apologize or make a plan to stop a certain behavior or habit. Enlist help—find a parenting support group, hang out at the library and meet some people, reconnect with old friends or family. We all go through it. You are not alone.
Can you believe it is August already? Public school starts in less than a month! (I’m pretty sure I just heard an audible groan) It’s been a busy and exciting summer here at the Center: we had our #relationshipgoals Group to hang out with some awesome teens and discuss what healthy relationships look like; you guys rocked with our annual Change-A-Life Baby Bottle Drive fundraiser; our Life Center office got a mini face lift with new furniture in our counseling rooms (thanks to our awesome supporters!!!!), and the addition of a Mommy Corner in our Baby Boutique; we were so blessed with donations that we did a free rummage sale to bless the community; AND we have given out diapers at the Free Lunch sites and the Wisner Market. WHEW!
In the busyness and excitement of the Summer, though, it is so important to take a step back and really look at those around you. Take time to enjoy the little moments of doing nothing, listen to the child that never seems to stop talking, go feed the birds with your parents, read a book together, play with the squirt guns, and eat ice cream before dinner. Watch funny videos together like Bad Lip Reading “Seagulls” and “Watch Out for my Body Rolls” (both of these may have been played in our office earlier…..) and laugh out loud together. Recent tragedies remind us that we never know when our time is up.
In light of that: do you know that you are amazing? That you are loved and that you have a purpose? That you impact the world every day whether you know it or not? You are an absolute rock star because you are YOU. You were created to bring glory to God and He delights in you. If you're a parent...it's a tough job, so be sure to take time for you. Being a young person is tough in today’s world, take advice from those you look up to and know your value.
Proverbs 6 tells us to “Keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you.” And even more so, be reading the Bible because that is where you learn more about the God who created you and where your value and purpose come from.
Written by the staff and volunteers of the Southern Tier PRC.