Creating a safe home as been one of our unspoken priorities. It's often said that when you grow up you either perpetuate what you learned, or you do the complete opposite of that. And well friends, Jeremy and I have chosen to be intentional in how we make our home safe for our girls. We long for them to know their voice matters, how they feel matters, and we care enough to talk about it! We are challenged with, "How we do help teach and mold our girls to be confident, and be grounded in their God created-identities?" Now, I'm not talking about being perfect little girls who go to church and follow rules to be loved by God. I'm talking about being ever so rooted in the truth of who they each are created to be, and to know who they are: which is loved, wanted, chosen, accepted and so much more!!! And trust me, we aren't perfect at this by any means. To be honest, it took DK turning 5 years old before we began to fully understand the gravity of our choices, and how we spoke to each other.
So, I wanted to share 5 ways we create safety and boundaries in our home.
1.TEASING IS A NO GO
I was bullied, picked on, and made fun of when I was little, by classmates, and by family members. So I admit, teasing is definitely a trigger for me. I don't like it, whether it's a joke or not. I don't want our girls to be raised in the toxicity of teasing, and for it to be excused as, "Oh, come on....it was a joke." So we have a rule where if we say or do something and one of us doesn't like it, we have the freedom to say, "I didn't like when you said (dot dot dot) or did this." Whoever the offender was, which does include us (mom and dad), apologizes, and asks for forgiveness. We don't excuse it with humor, say it was a joke, or say, "Come on, you need to learn how to take a joke."
Why do we do this?
To build confidence and courage within our girls to have the freedom to say "No, that wasn't okay," or to say, "What you said hurt my feelings, and I didn't like it." Now, I get in the real world, not everyone will apologize, or understand their feelings, but at the very least it's building up the confidence in them to have the courage to as least say it, and be heard, without it affecting their identities.
2.WE DON'T COMPARE, WE CELEBRATE
This one is huge!!! Jeremy and I don't compare our girls to each other, and we don't allow the girls to compare themselves to each other either. Comparing robs the beauty of who God created each of us to be and accomplish in this world. Learning to celebrate well takes real skill and time. So why not start when they are young?!?
Why do we do this?
Sibling rivalry is real, and it doesn't go away when we grew up. I believe it remains deep within ourselves. Instead, we are teaching our girls to celebrate one another. For example, a few years ago, DK had the opportunity to do some modeling. Savi said, "How come I didn't get to do it?" I had 2 options here: Either redirect her comment in a way that celebrates or let her feel and say whatever she wanted. That was a moment for me to teach them, and set a boundary in that we don't compare but rather celebrate. So I told Savi, "Instead, how can we share in the excitement of what DK experienced? Maybe we can say something like, "DK that's so cool that you got to model. Did you have fun?" or "DK, I love that you got to do something so fun like modeling. Tell me all about it."" And then you know what happened?!? A dialog between them opened up, and Savi got to celebrate along side DK in what she experienced. Then a few weeks later, our whole family was casted for a modeling gig, and Savi was the one to be in the spotlight. And now the same situation was reversed, and this time DK had to celebrate Savi, and Savi got to see that when we can truly celebrate someone else purely, an opportunity may just open up for her! I have so many more examples of this, but will have to share more later.
3.WE USE OUR WORDS WISELY
This one is incredibly true, especially with body image. We don't use words like "fat" in our vocabulary when describing ourselves or someone else. We also don't say things like "You look beautiful," or, "Be good."
Why do we do this?
We believe our words have power. It's with our words where we can either build-up or break down one another. What better way to show love, by building each other up. "You look beautiful" and "Be good," is deeply connected into their identities. I learned early on my girls greatest fears, and gained discernment that statements like these and more would greatly harm them. I'll be blogging more about this concept, but here's what I can say for now. Instead of saying, " You look beautiful, I say, "You are beautiful." And instead of saying, "Be good," I say, "Do your best."
Now when they miss the mark, we either redirect or walk through "asking for forgiveness" process. What do I mean by that? Well, lets say someone raised their voice out of frustration. I'll say, " I think there's a better say to say/ask that?" And then they have to ask their question in a way that shows love, not yelling, or being disrespectful. After they've been redirected, then are they walked through the asking for forgiveness process that I share more of below.
Why do we do this?
Sometimes our kids just need to be reminded of the boundaries we've set, and how we communicate with people we love. They are kids, so boundaries will get pushed and tested, especially as they get older, and want more of their own independence. My hope is that we've been consistent in how we treat each other, that even when they are older, that they can still be redirected, and understand that how they speak matters.
5.We are QUICK TO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS
I didn't learn how to forgive well when I was younger. It was a process in which God had to walk me through lots of years ago. I was one who held onto records wrong like nobodies business. Learning to say the words, "I forgive you," was so hard for me. And I knew I wanted this cycle to not be continued in our home. Then 4 years ago at church we learned a great way to practice forgiveness.
The offender: Step 1. I'm sorry for..... Step 2. I was wrong. Step 3. Do/Will you forgive me?
The offended: Yes, I forgive you for..... (saying it's okay, or it's fine, is not an acceptable response for us)
And then I added a step. Step 4. Both the offended and offender have to hug it out. I even say that...."Now, hug it out." :)
Why we do this?
Learning to forgive well takes practice. And I quickly learned we can say we forgive someone but actually haven't. Sometimes our feelings need time to catch up with our words. So by having the offender and the offended hug it out, it helps the offended to let go of unforgiveness. There's such power with touch, like a hug. And it's in "how" our girls hug it out, where we can tell if they've truly forgiven or are harboring. Now I bet you are wondering, "Well, what if the offense was like really really bad?" Well, the offended, has the freedom and space to say, "I forgive you, I just need some time or space." The offended then can take a few minutes to cool off, meditate, etc. Then they have to go back to the offender, accept their apology, and then hug it out.
Well friends, there's so much more I could add, but I've made myself a promise that I won't write exceptionally long blogs.....haha! Which, I haven't been the best at with our personal blog posts.
I share all this in hopes to encourage and inspire you to create safety in your home. For you, you'll have to figure out your own why, and what matters to your family. For us, creating a safe space to share our full selves matters a ton to us, and our why is tied into our upbringings. Like I've said before, we aren't perfect at this thing called parenting, and boy do we miss the mark. But our kids have the freedom to share their feelings, and to be heard. We learn everyday how we can improve, and use our words to empower each other.
What are some ways you create safety in your home?!?
Until next time....