For the past couple of years, vulnerability has been a popular topic. Being vulnerable is more than sharing some deep dark secret. It’s the practice of sharing how we are doing at a deeper level. It’s also having the awareness that we are risking being rejected. Over the years, I have had many opportunities to share my battle for mental wellness. You may think it is easy for me to do that. The truth is, I have found it challenging to be honest and open about how I am doing, even though I know it is good for my soul.
When I was first diagnosed with acute panic and anxiety disorder, I feared passing it on to my kids or messing them up because of it. It was hard to share that fear. It seemed too personal, too private. I wanted to model specific values that mattered to Mika and I-things we wanted our kids to be known for-things we wanted our family to be known for. I decided to be intentional about how I showed authenticity in front of my kids. Instead of letting fear stop me, I decided to step out in faith and be as honest as possible. With lots of prayers, counseling, and conversations, I did my best to create an environment that felt safe for my kids to share with me how they were doing and what they were struggling with.
If you want your kids to embrace being honest about how they are doing, be intentional about creating a safe space for them to operate. Kids grow in what they see you do instead of what they hear you say. Show them that you are someone they can rely on and they can trust. Help them grow the muscles necessary to be honest, and open about who they are and what they are feeling.
Are you ready to help remove some of the fear your kids may feel about being vulnerable? Try taking one of the ideas from the list below and be intentional about that one thing for a week.
Forty I Ams
This is one of our most used tools.The truth about who God says He is and who He says we are is a cornerstone to walking in true freedom. Being true to who God has created us to be will help us lead an authentic life. Print off the download and share a statement a day with your kid. You can hang them up near their bed, put one in a lunch box, tape one to the bathroom mirror, and even have a few in the car.
Last week, we shared a link to a journal page. We created this pdf with kids in mind. Journaling is an excellent practice for your kids. Getting your feelings out is a smart way to be in tune with how you are doing. Remember, model the values you want your kids to have. Print a page off for your kid and grab your journal. Spend some time this week journaling together!
Make Eye Contact
Bailey shared on this week’s podcast how she was intentional about looking her kids in the eye. We can get busy trying to multitask, glance at our phones, or be in the company of our kids but not present. Set a reminder on your phone to press pause on everything and spend time catching up with your kid every day this week.
As a parent, I didn’t always get it right and made many mistakes. But I tried hard to know my kids, understand how they were wired, and took the time to affirm them in ways unique to them. I looked for ways to say I was sorry when I messed up and did my best to see their pain from their perspective. Creating safe spaces takes time.
Cheering you on along the way,
Toby and The Goby Team