I was driving to work one day and I saw this little boy with who may have been his mother.  He was about 3 years old and he was carrying a backpack and the backpack was almost as big as he was.  It brought this message up in my spirit.  What are you putting in your child’s backpack?  I’m not talking about notebooks, pencils and glue.  You know as adults many of us carry baggage around from the pain of our past from our childhood.  What are putting in your child’s backpack?  Are you putting in verbal abuse?  Are you putting in emotional abuse by ignoring them when they talk to you?  Are you putting in physical abuse?  Are you putting or allowing in sexual abuse? These are very serious & major issues.  You know there are times where what we put in our child’s backpack is very subtle, very subtle. Are we showing them how to treat others with value, respect and kindness?  I found myself at one-point snatching from my son, snatching things out of his hand when he handed them to me.  You know, and then when I saw that same behavior repeated to me, I got on him about it, right?  But then later the Holy Spirit said, but you snatch things from him.  So, I had to check myself and I had to stop doing it.  And you know, I had to admit to my son some of these things, you know.  Son, I realize that I have been snatching things out of your hand when your hand them to me, you know that’s not very kind.  And I told him I’m not gonna do that anymore, because that’s not how I want to treat you.  I had to check myself and I had to be transparent with my son.  So, perhaps I took that out of his backpack by doing that.  I had to check myself again.  You know there are subtle ways where we put negative things in our child’s backpack and one those ways that I realized I was doing that very thing.  That was not giving him eye contact when he was telling me something, he’s talking to me. You know, he’s telling me something, he’s talking to me and I’m not looking up, not looking up from the computer, not looking up from the phone, not looking up from the paper, not looking up from the stove while I’m cooking, just not giving him eye contact.  You know something as subtle as that can be a form of emotional abuse because what you’re saying is you’re not valuable enough for me to stop what I’m doing.  It’s an abusive act.  So, when I saw the same behavior in him, my son was kinda like that mirror you know, the Holy Spirit said to me once again, yeah but you’re not giving him eye contact when you’re busy doing something when he’s speaking to you.  So, again I had to come clean with my son, I had to be transparent and say, you know son, I realize that when you’re talking to me I haven’t been giving you eye contact and you know what, that’s not; how I want to treat you and that’s not how I want you to treat others or me.  I said, I’m gonna stop doing that son and I did.  And you know, I took that out of his emotional backpack. 

Today my son is 24 years old.  When someone’s speaking to him, he gives them eye contact, he shows them he’s listening, he shows them he values what they’re saying, he shows them he respects them enough to give them eye contact and let them know that he’s listening.  When he hands people stuff or receives stuff from people it’s done in a kind way.  He doesn’t snatch.  I know there’s probably some things that I put in his backpack and some things that I couldn’t protect him from that are in his backpack.  I want you to be intentional now while you’re raising your child.  My son is 24 now so, he’s going to have to deal with the weight of what’s in his backpack.  He’s going to have to unpack it himself now, he’s 24.  I had much to unpack, my backpack was very, very heavy.  I had to unpack abandonment, emotional abuse, parental alcoholism, sexual abuse, rape, incest, low self-esteem, broken boundary system, promiscuity, abortion, broken family, divorce and codependency.  Some of these things my parents put in my backpack and some were put there by others.  It took me some counseling and years of recovery to unpack my backpack. 

However, your child may be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, years old, you still have time.  You still have time to lighten up their backpack.  So, what do you want to be in your child’s backpack?  That’s the question.  Whatever you want to be in your child’s backpack, you need to be thinking about it now.  You need to thinking about it, not through what you’re teaching & telling them, but how you’re acting around them, how you’re acting towards them, how you’re treating them, how you’re treating others.  These are the things that you will do to help lighten up their backpack.  True, some things you won’t be able to protect them from no matter how hard you try.  Those things may end up in their backpack.  Decide right now today, that you’re going to be the parent to make sure their backpack is light. 

“It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~ Frederick Douglas

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