This was Bontle’s reaction to our affirmative “we have nothing planned” response when she asked us what we were doing for our upcoming tenth wedding anniversary.
That simple question turned into a family meeting of three. Following this spontaneous but heartfelt family conversation, here’s what stood out for me:
The journey of parenting isn’t an easy one but the ease of it comes from allowing ourselves to be open and vulnerable with our kids. The times we’ve been open with Bontle about things she may be oblivious to have opened us up to the wisdom that our daughter has. See, sometimes we tend to think that kids are just kids and won’t know or understand. However, tapping into her wisdom always provides perspective for me. Even in the event when I try to pick her brain about something and she simply answers “I don’t know Mom” 😅. The main thing here is not to parent or try to do life alone.
As parents, we tend to focus on what may seem as the big, hard stuff and neglect the important, soft things that actually make relationships work. Capes and I laughed at Bontle’s reaction but the truth stung hard. Her reaction was a stark reminder that we’ve come to prioritise everything else but moments that will strengthen our relationship further. It wasn’t the first time Bontle gave us this feedback. When we told her we didn’t plan anything for our anniversary because we are counting our shillings, she gave us practical, low cost ideas of how we can celebrate this upcoming milestone. The message here was “put in some effort in your relationship guys”. Effort does not require millions but recognition that this moment matters and I will give it the necessary attention it deserves.
I am acknowledging this:
children are messengers from God.
Their hearts and intentions are so pure. They also serve as a mirror for us – full-length if you will. With this in mind, we need to raise our children in such a way that allows them to share the messages they carry and need to deliver. Who knows, maybe your breakthrough is contained in that little girl or boys’ “crazy, childish talk”.
Tomorrow marks the commemoration of World Children’s Day, so let this be a reminder that we as parents need to create safe spaces for children to share their thoughts and to explore their ideas. We need to create nurturing environments for them to thrive in so that ultimately they will be able to step into what they have been called to. Picking Bontle’s brain, asking for feedback, listening to her insights and actively taking her advice has not only helped me in various ways but it also helps her realise that her voice matters. This has built confidence in her. This is the confidence she uses to share messages I believe come from God to help steer us in the right direction when we are led astray. Messages we take in when we have been good listeners – something we are working on improving.
Listening is a skill that we as parents need to work intentionally on because it opens us up to so much more of what our children are thinking, feeling or may be going through. But in this era, we’ve adopted an always-on way of living, which creates a barrier to open, transparent communication and intimacy. As we were in conversation, I realised the atmosphere was different. At this, I looked around and realised that the television was off, we had put our phones away and we were all engrossed in each other. We were relaxed and casual without external distractions. This is what made our impromptu family meeting a success. The conducive environment was enabling for the breakthrough conversation we had.
Our lives serve as a blueprint for our children.
Because there’s a high likelihood that they will adopt the way we go about living, we need to be intentional with what we get up to. During the conversation, Bontle said if she was married already, she and the husband could have been going on trip to Paris 🙌🏽🙌🏽. I am grateful that when it comes to relationships, Bontle seems more enlightened and understands that Capes and I should be doing better. Our little helper seems to have great insight and I’m yielding my vices to be a learner, allowing myself to be guided by this messenger from God.
At my old age, I never thought I would be learning so much from my ten year old. But I think this is the beauty of life as a whole. As I journey along, I realise that the greatest of things don’t always come from the extraordinary but from the ordinary: people, events, places or conversations. Capes and I will get up to something to celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary. This will be a celebration of our 16 year relationship. Typing these years out, I realise how BIG this is. This is definitely something we can’t afford not to be serious about.
Thank you Bontle ❤️