Contributed by Sue
I woke up one morning and realized our children have become young adults. They live away from us so it was inevitable our ministry to them would look different. We can’t just sit down in the living room and carry on a conversation with them. I thank the Lord for our cell phones, emails and visits. We are available to them day or night. As our son goes on military deployments around the world, those phone calls are extremely important and precious to us.
And as each crisis or small problem occurs with our young adults, we get phone calls. One of our children thinks every little thing is a minor catastrophe. I love this about him because I know he is calling us to vent. I have found that I need to be a very good listener, only asking questions and not quickly jumping in to give advice unless it’s asked for. Okay! Sometimes I panic and just have to ask: “Did you get this taken care of?” or “Are you going to pay that bill?”
My husband and I have learned from each other’s conversations to our kids. I have learned from him to ask “What do you think about it?” instead of telling them what I think about it. My husband has learned from me to respond gently to their situations, reassuring them that all will work out.
We don’t receive many emails from our kids—unless, of course, they are commenting on one of my husband’s philosophy statements! They don’t like to write that much so I just send short emails saying “Hi”, sharing a thought or two and telling them I love them. When my son is deployed, I send him an email daily—even if I don’t get a response back. I share what is going on with the family and the activities of the day. We tell our kids over and over that we are praying for them. We say “thank you for calling us” and “we love you.” We know they are special and your kids are too!
When we go to visit them or when they come home they often become the center of attention. We do what they want to do, even if it is hours of watching their favorite TV show or eating food we don’t especially like. (Meatloaf is not my favorite food!) During one visit, I remember a 24 hour marathon of watching Star Trek with my older son. A recent bonding time involved a request from our son to take a picture of Keith Green’s grave (Christian recording artist). It was well worth the out of the way request during a road trip. Later we took him and his wife there and it meant the world to them.
Now, please share your ideas about how to minister to my daughter-in-law long distance. We are still developing that relationship, so it’s been a challenge.