My oldest grandson (G1): Hey GranElaine, I’m not feeling too good. You know I don’t travel much and I think I’m homesick.
Me: That’s OK. What part of home are you missing?
G1: Well, beside my own bed and my stuff, I miss Mom and Dad a lot. They know all about me. Probably more than anyone.
Me: (smiling) That makes me very happy and even though it’s tough to be homesick, it’s also a good thing to miss someone who knows you well.
G1: Yeah, but they don’t know me better than my brother. He really knows me. But he’ll go have his own life someday and my parents will always be there for me.
I had the blessing of spending the last three weeks with our three grandchildren and it was exhaustingly wonderful! The short moments like the conversation above were priceless and made my heart so full. I was listening to an 11-year-old describe his family, his security, his identity and his future all in a three-minute conversation. Our children can say so much with just a few words and we dare not miss it. This happened as I was cooking in the kitchen and he momentarily strolled through. By the way, the next pass through brought the “How much longer until we eat?” question.
Here are a few takeaways from my grandson’s feelings that I think we might consider in our families:
- It is more important to miss each other than the “stuff.”
- There is a physical longing for a place where others know all about you.
- It feels good to know you are important enough to be known.
- Reality is that everything will not stay the same but relationships will remain.
- There is security for every child who knows with certainty that their parents, who know them, will always be there for them.
Our children are beginning a new school year which means that many are away from the home more hours than they are in the home. The challenge for parents is to be intentionally focused and invested so that children know you “really know them.” As we are all aware, if they are not known at home, there are plenty of outside forces eager to know them. If they are not listened to at home, there will be others who will pay attention. It is very easy to fall into a schedule for both parents and children that neither really know each other that well.
No matter the age or phase of our children, it is never too late to be present. The family is God’s conduit through relationships and throughout history to show the world who He is. If we are homesick for His presence, and that He knows everything about us but will always be there for us, then that is how we need to be in our homes.