Thursday, March 14, 2013

Angie Smith at dotMom : What Our Children Need to Know

Our first general session speaker at the dotMom Conference was Angie Smith.  She was pretty much what sealed the deal for me wanting to make this trip to Dallas.  Even though the average American may not know who she is, she's pretty much a Christian mom celebrity to me!  I was so excited to hear her and she really did speak to our hearts as moms.  We could all relate with what she was sharing with us.  Here are just a few of the points I took away from her session.  They aren't necessarily verbatim and may not be exactly what she intended, but this is the way I understood them.

1.  Our children need to know they have inherent value.
They need to know that:
a.  My love is not conditional.
We won't love our children more if they do the right thing or what they think pleases us.  We won't love them any less if they mess up.

b.  They are not props in my performance
We use our children to make ourselves look good to other people and the world.  (Instagram and Facebook anyone?)  We want them to look a certain way and act a certain way so that it reflects well on US.  Angie mentioned how she noticed she would lose a special moment with her children because she interrupted it to take a picture of them and post it online.  She also mentioned how she now asks her daughter's permission before sharing pictures of her.

c.  They are not an inconvenience to me
I think this was another punch to the gut for many of us.  When we get frustrated with our children, are we giving them the impression that they are inconvenient?  When they make a mess or slow us down when we're in a hurry, how do our words and actions make them feel?

Study & celebrate your individual child.
Angie discussed how she often groups her daughters together rather than acknowledging them as individuals.  During the course of a day she would often refer to them as "girls" rather than parent them as individuals.

How can I show you I love you today?
This is a wonderful way Angie tried to do a better job of celebrating her individual children.  She would ask each this question.  The daughter that is her 'pleaser' gave the answer she thought Angie wanted to hear (read the Bible together), but after a little more prodding she shared what she would really like to do (go to Claire's!).

2.  Life is not a crisis
Angie joked about how on days where they are running late for church you would think a terrorist was in their backyard by the way everyone is running around crazy.  It is not worth it to get so upset and frustrated with one another.

a.  Productivity is not an indication of a life well lived.
I LOVED this point and I think it pretty much speaks for itself.

b.  I will not make decisions for my children out of fear
I'm having a hard time remembering exactly how Angie explained this point.  I believe she referenced the loss of her daughter, Audrey, and how she couldn't let fear that something would happen to her other girls affect the way she parented them.

3.  Our children need to know that we are pilgrims too.  We don't know it all or have it all together.
This is another great, self explanatory point.  Marlie and I were recently talking about one of her Bible verses and how only God is perfect.  This took me back to that discussion.  We can't be afraid to let our children see that we make mistakes too and we also need grace and forgiveness.  What a beautiful example to show them.

I am so thankful that Angie allowed the Lord to speak to us through her.  She is writing her own posts about these points that will be more in depth.  I'm looking forward to reading them on her site at angiesmithonline.com

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