I took my older daughter to the Sporting KC exhibition match against Manchester City last night. It was just her and me. During halftime, I looked at her and said, "When was the last time just you and I did anything together?" She smiled and shrugged.
Truth is, though, that it's been a while since my older daughter and I have done anything together without her sister besides drive to and from soccer practice. Part of that is because my daughter doesn't always think I'm the coolest person to hang out with. Part of it is because her sister has taken up a lot of energy and time this year.
While I try hard to give my girls equal attention, it doesn't always come out that way. And I refuse to feel guilty about it. There are seasons where one child is going to need you more than the other one. And in those seasons, it's fine to give one child more attention and time. But the trick is to not just assume your other kids are just fine while you focus on the one having the most trouble.
That's why it's so important to set aside some alone time with each kid. It doesn't have to be a big event like a Sporting game. It can be the small moments -- in the car, at the grocery or just going out for a Coke. The important thing is to remember to check in with your kids even when it seems things are going well.
Our kids need our guidance and wisdom (whether they think so or not) in both the good times and the rough moments. They need to know that we're available to listen when things are going well so they'll come talk to us when things aren't going their way. They need to know that we care about the little things and the big things.
Because that's how God treats us. He's interested in everything about us. There's no concern too small or joy too little to share with God. Luke 12:7 says "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." If God knows the number of hairs on your head, then He's definitely interested in what is going on in your life.
As we model our parenting on the way God treats us, we need to pay attention to the little things in our kids' lives. We need to make time to just hang out with our kids, to hear what's on their hearts in the everyday moments. Because it's in those moments that we can pour love and wisdom into our kids.
Are you making time to listen to your kids today?