I never thought it would come to this!
Honestly the thought never crossed my mind. I was so busy making sure they were fed, clothed, clean, safe, educated, and socialized that it never occurred to me that one day my voice would begin to fade into the background.
After all, as their mother, I am the commanding voice, the head honcho, the captain of this ship called the Vis family….along with their father, of course 😉
On a day to day basis, my level of involvement and influence in their lives is off the charts, and as a stay at home mom, I am the person that speaks the most into their little ears and hearts. Here’s the beauty of how this has played out in our home up until now….they listen!
Kids are sponges and they absorb everything you say. (For good or bad)
I love it when they take my word at face value and just believe me. When I hear one of my children persuading their siblings with these words, my heart just melts, “…because Mommy said…” They simply trust me and my words. They soak them in. I don’t have to fight anything else to have my voice be the one they hear the loudest.
I always knew that as a parent I would be their number one influence. What I forgot was that I wouldn’t be the ONLY influence. Sure, I knew that friends would have their share of input, just like media, school and other things, but I convinced myself that I would stand out among them and that my kids would in the end, always weigh my words as the best.
My husband and I have been in youth ministry for over 15 years and we know the power of influence that another voice can have in a kids’ life. We desired to impact youth for Christ and we wanted a place at the table in our student’s lives. We are grateful for those parents who have let us speak into their kids lives especially concerning the things of God.
Now I am finding myself in the reverse role as one of those parents. A parent of preteens. I know, I actually said it out loud….scary!
I need someone to be a “third voice” for my kids.
We have seen the positive impact of what we like to call, “a third voice” in kids’ lives and we as parents have been intentional to set our kids up for success in this area.
A third voice person is someone who you want to speak into your child’s life, sometimes saying things even without words. This person has your child’s best interest at heart. Like you, they want to see your son or daughter grow to be all that they can be, in every aspect of life.
A third voice person is someone that you as parents partner with and intentionally involve them in your child’s world. We have specifically asked people to come alongside us to help influence our children. We have given them permission to invest in our kids with their unique perspectives and personalities.
The goal of a third voice is to have kids hear the same message their parents say but through a different voice.
We’ve chosen friends who we know hold the same moral and more importantly spiritual beliefs as we do and have allowed them to have a place of influence in our kid’s lives.
As parents, we have to begin with the ending in mind and envision who we want our children to be. Starting at the end is a great way to be parenting purposefully. Keep the goal in the forefront of your mind as you raise your children and find ways to leverage the positive influences around you so that they can become evident in your child’s life.
A third voice doesn’t necessarily have to stay with your child all through their lives. Just like scripture says, there is a time and a purpose for everything under heaven. It may be that a third voice stays for a season and then moves on. Our purpose as parents is to always be looking for positive third voices and putting our children in their way. This can be accomplished in very obvious ways and/or subtle ways.
We have, at times, asked specific people to partner with us, and at other times we have simply put our kids in situations where we know they will rub shoulders with great third voices.
Currently, I am facing a new season of finding third voices for my older kids. My voice is becoming less appealing to my son and daughter, BUT I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and you can too.
Think about the people around you who can speak the same message to your kids that you do, but say it with a different voice. Is it a youth group leader? A day care worker? A neighbor? A camp counselor? A coach? A teacher? A babysitter? An aunt, uncle, or older cousin? Now, those are cool, relevant and interesting voices to kids.
I’m sitting back and watching my kids cozy up to camp counselors this summer, and I’m not worried at all.
We’ve positioned our kids, and at this point I don’t even think they’ve clued in 😉 to continue being molded and shaped into the people we want them to be.
Of course, I’m not saying this approach will guarantee that your kids will turn out perfect. But I will guarantee that if you DON’T give your kids the opportunities to have positive third voices in their lives, they will listen to someone, or something else and it may not be the ones you want them to listen to.
I know this parenting thing is turning out to be more than I signed up for, but I wouldn’t change it for the world and I’m so glad that there are other inspiring people to help me and my kids along the way!
Be on the lookout and prayerfully consider who you can partner with to be a positive “third voice” for your kids, for the better!