As moms, we wake up each day and put on a name tag. No, not an actual, visible name tag, and most people may not even notice the name tag we are wearing. But our kids read the name tag loud and clear the minute they see your face. They see by our expressions, the way we listen (or don’t listen) and they see it in our attitudes. They see when we are wearing the “Worried” name tag, the “Too Busy” name tag, and the “Quick to Speak, Slow to Listen” one. They know when mom makes a habit of wearing the “Not Now” name tag and when she never takes off the “Unhappy” one.

There are times when each of us will wear these name tags from time-to-time, and for legitimate reasons. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve found myself in a very busy season and have several challenges and issues vying for my attention and I have been wearing the “Distracted” name tag a bit too frequently these days. I guess that’s why I felt compelled to write this.

However justified we may feel in wearing our inner struggles on our faces, we must be aware how our name tags affect our ability to create a meaningful, trusting relationship with our kids. If we want our kids to tell us the truth, share their lives, and open their hearts to us, we need to make sure that we put on name tags that say “I’m Here”, “Patient”, “A Soft Place to Fall”, “Trustworthy” and “You Matter”.

Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”

Our heartache can sometimes spill out and crush the spirit of the little lives we are trying to mold also, and a simple change of our heart and face can make a huge difference.

So today, try responding to your children with a big smile and focused attention and eye-contact, even if you are deep in thought and they are coming to tell you a detailed description of the level they just completed on their favorite video game….for the fourth time. The connection you make will be much more valuable than the one minute of time it took to give your child your undivided attention, and your smile and approval will make their day.

Who knows, you might even find yourself wearing a “Greatest Mom in the World” name tag, even if no one sees it but you. You’ll know you are wearing it when you see the look of contentment and love on your child’s face.