Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Expanding Our Circle: A Tribute to Jacquelyn

One of the best tidbits of parenting advice I have ever heard came from a friend of mine named Gina. She was speaking one night at our church's small group gathering, and mentioned that as parents we should "expand our circle" for our children. She went on to explain that kids are born into a circle of family. Beyond that circle of mom and dad and siblings is extended family (Grandma, Grandpa, aunts, cousins, etc). A third way to "expand" that circle of love around our children is to look for friends who can be positive role models and mentors to our children. Gina pointed out that building a healthy relationship with a family friend can come in very handy later in life during those critical preteen and teenage years when your child may or may not feel comfortable asking Mom or Dad about things, but could instead go to his or her mentor with concerns or questions. She said that we have to be picky about who we would allow to fill that role; it should be someone whom you love, trust, and respect. Someone whose answer to tough questions would align to your own family's core values.

For us, that friend is Jacquelyn. She and I have known each other for years as we grew up at the same church together. Her parents did our pre-marriage counseling and have been friends of our family for a long time. Jacquelyn is eight years younger than me. When we first started hanging out together it was the summer before her freshman year in high school. I was newly married and teaching a high school girls' Bible study out of my apartment along with my friend, LeAnn. Jacquelyn attended the study that summer and for the next several summers as well. Later, after high school, she moved to New York City to go to college and pursue a career in the fashion industry. When she moved back to Oklahoma City, we reconnected one afternoon over lunch and have been good friends ever since. For nearly four years now, she has been coming over to my house once a week to eat dinner and hang out with my family. Hannah and Leah adore her and see her as a cool aunt or big sister. They love spending time with her.

I can't say enough good things about my sweet friend. She is beautiful, smart, funny, witty, carries herself with confidence, and lives life with passion. And more than any of these things, her life truly reflects her love for our Father God. She is like my little sister as well as my friend. I know I could trust her to be a positive mentor to my girls since her life reflects the one mentioned in Proverbs 31. I am so glad she is a part of our "circle."

Check out Jacquelyn's blog Cover to Cover!

1 comment:

Ashley said...

You inspire me to do better things. I hope I can find a "village" for Grant. You're very right. It's so important.