Last night during a middle-of-the-night nursing session, the song “Free to Be You and Me” ran through my head. This is one of those “You know you’re a child of the 70s if…” songs. So if you are, you know it. If you aren’t, click here. I remember singing it in a grade school program (though, incidentally, the song came out the year I was born so it was nearly an oldie by the time I reached school!). And I loved this song.
What’s funny to me now, though, as I think about it, is how formative stuff like this is for kids–especially for me. I loved the song not only because it was fun to sing and dance around to, but because already as a young kid, I believed in the message. And I still do–perhaps more than ever as a mom.
Because aside from making sure my kids experience God’s grace, see the hand of Jesus at work in my broken life, and learn to love the Lord, I think giving them the freedom and confidence to be who God made them to be might be my most important objective. I think most of us parents feel that way. The idea our kids selling themselves short–or out–is heartbreaking.
And yet, many of us same moms who encourage our kids to “be themselves” stuff our very selves away for no one to see. We think our identities are something that need to be sacrificed along with sleep, I guess. What happens between childhood and motherhood to make us do this? Is it that we hit junior high, get made fun of for being ourselves, and then just never get past that? Or is it that when we become moms–especially in Christian circles (though this could happen everywhere–probably does–I just run in Christian mom circles)–we’re simply no longer free to be you and me. At least without criticism, questioning, doubting, or being gossipped about. Are there just too many expectations of who the Christian mom is and who we should be to rally against this? I don’t think so, but freedom never is easy.
A quote for the road: “Take my hand/Come along/Lend your voice to my song.” That’s “Free to Be You and Me” speak for “Tell me what you think!”