You know that adage “Don’t say ABOUT someone what you wouldn’t say TO them?” Every now and then, I write something that I know one day I’ll have to explain to Brynna. Sometimes it’s a crazy antic of hers. I’m sure she will love to one day learn that her mom writes to the world about her running naked through the house. Sometimes it’s a story of mine. Those are the scary ones. Just as she reads accounts about herself, Brynna will read about mistakes I’ve made, abuse I experienced and pain I felt. And questions, I’m sure will follow. (She is, after all, mine. And for us, asking questions is an Olympic sport.)
It’s this thought that has paused my writing at times. Do I really want Brynna (and the world) to know that her dad and I have come close to quitting more than once? Do I really want to explain that while I shout from the rooftops about God’s peace, I have had seasons of feeling unpure, unwanted, desperate and depressed? The answer is: yes. Those conversations won’t be easy, but they will shape who Brynna is just as they shape me. How sad would it be if Brynna grows up, marries and man and then feels alone when something in her marriage is broken? How I would have failed her if she ever comes to a place in life when she’s hurting and doesn’t know that as consuming as it can feel, the darkness won’t consume her.
My time on earth is short. If all these lessons learned and trials overcome are only for me, they are worthless. But if I share even the painful things and it changes the course of Brynna’s life, there is value in my experience beyond making me a little wiser. If I tell her my stories and they help, grow and change Brynna; they will also change her kids and their kids. It will do her no good if she thinks I’m perfect. It won’t help her to think I never suffered the same poor choices she faces. She needs to hear my stories, so even when it hurts or is embarrassing or means she doesn’t look at me exactly the same, I will tell them.
Your children – no matter how old – need to hear your stories. There’s no source of pride in letting your kids think you never made mistakes and suffered loss. There’s nothing pretty about your child feeling alone so you can stand on a pedestal. There’s no honor in letting your kids learn the hard way the same lessons you learned the hard way. Life is hard enough. Give them something to hold on to. Tell them your stories.