Thick Skin

*This post was written back in September. But it’s as true today as it was that cool fall morning.

Thick skin, but a soft heart.


It’s funny how life changes in the blink of an eye.


Changes you never expect.


Points of view revealed that you never realized before.


Opening your ears to the unknown around you may just surprise you. Never realizing that change may be around the corner is just way too hard to expect.


If I could write a letter to my 18 year old self I would say, “Nothing endures but change. The outcomes of this life make you who you become. The person that you one day realize you want to be.”


Because here’s the thing, for many of us, we have children. These little people whose character development is our responsibility. We are their greatest teacher. What we do they copy. I don’t think there is a parent on earth that doesn’t understand that. Opening our hearts to them is important, but so is teaching them the power of having thick skin but a soft heart.


This week, I sent my youngest off to preschool. And it did not go well. Melt my heart, she told me “me miss mommy” (see, she needs to go to preschool to fix her grammar) when I asked her why she didn’t want to go.


Now here’s the thing, she often gets her way. I mean, half the time it’s her and I and I am back in the bliss of just having one child to entertain. So our entertainment is Starbucks, walking the mall window shopping (most of the time) and doing whatever she wants at home.


So this whole going to school thing is new. She isn’t ask excited as all three siblings were.  She cried. She refused to go. She hid under her covers. She did all the things I coached parents on breaking for years as a Kindergarten teacher. And now, I was going to have to follow my own prescription for healthy separation.


So we went to the bathroom. Chatted about after school and then returned to the classroom. With a fast kiss, I left the room. She went in without tears or looking back. I bolted so fast out of the building basically to avoid running back and taking her home with me. I prayed and went and sat in the parking lot. I left for all of an hour. But I am back, sitting here waiting for her to be done. I may or may not be one of the first parents at the door. And I may or may not take her for ice cream or Starbucks for being so brave.



But I pray I am teaching her to have a soft heart and thick skin.


Life isn’t easy. It’s hard work. It’s tiring. It’s full. But watching the reward of my kids is worth it. Watching them overcome hard things that I have had to gives me courage to keep teaching. Keep biting my tongue when I want to lose it. Those emotions are real. But how we as parents deal with it is important. I keep thinking lately about how I want my kids to be known. I certainly am not perfect. I, for sure don’t know fully what I am doing. But I do know we learn from someone our behaviours and character.


I so desperately want them to see me living full. Living passionately after our Creator. The One who made heaven and earth and can heal in a moment. I want them to watch me seek Him and do the same. Ultimately, I pray they see Jesus’ character and perspective through me so they desire to be more like Him.


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