Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Club Thursday: Mama Made the Difference- Lesson 9

Mamas Teach Us the Value of Support

We are back to our Book Club Thursday schedule.  For those of you who are newer to the blog, we are currently reading through Rev. T.D. Jakes book Mama Made the Difference.  Any quotes that are taken from the book are in bold (and italicized) print.

Advice and support are so very different from each other.  Advice tells you what to do, what you should do, which direction you should take and is very much needed at different times in our lives.  But support is just being present and giving someone the nod they need to move forward, the encouragement to take that step that they want to take but are afraid to, and that shoulder to lean on when they become to tired to stand on their own.

It is not how loudly you speak or what you say, support is just being there in the corner, standing quietly, giving a nod of encouragement in moments that matter.

How powerful a statement is that?  Brian and I are teaching and parenting Addie so that she will grow up to follow the Word of God, to figure certain things out for herself, and to make good decisions, yet there is always that piece of me that wants to jump in and make the right choice for her, put the piece of the puzzle in the right way, move the block so much to the right so her little "house" won't fall apart, and pick out the "right" crayon for her to color the flower in her picture. Good grief, do I sound controlling?  

I am learning (with the support of some very dear friends) to take a step back, to watch, to cheer from the sidelines, to direct her or toss a word of advice in her direction when she looks to me for guidance (not to do for her what she is capable of doing herself), and to distract myself with something else so she can figure out which direction the puzzle piece needs to be turned in order to fit in the puzzle correctly.

I am not by any means saying that I am taking a hands off approach to raising Addie, but I am learning to take my hands off of everything.  I am learning that to support someone takes just as much, if not more, effort as doing for them.  It means that my eyes and ears have to be more alert and in tuned to her and her surroundings and that my reflexes have to have a full servings of Wheaties in the morning. 

Addie has recently begun climbing into her own booster chair at the dining room table.  My first instinct was to say, "No, Addie.  Let Mommy put you in the chair."  However, I realized that learning to climb into her booster chair is just part of her "education" in being a child (she is no longer a baby...very sad!) and my new role is to stand behind her so that I can catch her if she slips and falls. 

Now granted, we cannot and should not be a support when we know that someone is doing something that God's Word calls a sin. We also need to learn the balance between supporting and enabling. 

And so, the lesson I would pass along to you about the value of support is: appreciate the people who support you; do not let them be invisible.  Though they are probably mature enough to be willing to strengthen you silently, take time to let them know how much their support means to you.  Realize what a gift they are and take time to say "thank you." And then in every possible way, every chance you get, make an effort to support someone else.

Homework for the Heart: Recall a time when your mother supported and encouraged you when you were a child.  Now think of a time when she has cheered you up or been uplifting for you as an adult.  What do the two experiences have in common?  How have you learned to support others based on what you've experienced?

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