June 25, 2012 —

I am looking forward to spending the upcoming long summer days with my 8-year-old son, Michael. Recently, my son and I returned from a trip at the lake and were talking about our weekend. After reminiscing about swimming and campfires, we embarked on the subject of when someone passes away. What began this conversation was learning that on that Sunday morning, a close friend of mine had lost his sister. My son began to ask many questions, and some were very difficult to answer. As we were driving down that country dirt road, I began to think to myself, thank God I am having this conversation with my son, and what a great time to do it.

Now, we have all had these kinds of memorable moments with our children, but I encourage all of you to also create opportunities for your kids to open up to you. Sometimes all it takes is a peaceful moment to learn a lifetime of information from your children.

So, as we soak up the sun this summer either at the pool, our homes, or at the beach, search for that moment to bond with your kids, and build that trust that is so paramount in parenting these days. Talk to your kids about the dangers of risky behaviors –like substance abuse, cough medicine abuse – and make sure you listen with your heart, and not just your ears, so that you can detect a child who is reaching out for help. Think about your own childhood and early adolescence, and use your own experiences as teaching moments with your children.

I leave you with this thought from my son. As we were recently driving, listening to music, and talking, he tells me, “Look at the trees mommy. God is making them dance to the music!” These are the moments I live for! What are yours?