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He Was Lost
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He was lost, and I didn’t know it.

My mom was visiting with my nephews and we’d driven up to the Grand Canyon with my kids to check out the most beautiful hole in the earth. After a morning of hiking, we were inspecting the gift shop when my seven-year-old announced that he needed to pee. I checked with the other four, none had to go, and so I left with Jake and told Mom we’d see them at the bathrooms. Unbeknownst to me, Quinn (my younger son) decided to come along. We left the store and walked the 100 yards to the bathroom. Somewhere near the gift shop, Quinn lost sight of me.

Ten minutes later, I see Mom and the other four come towards us and Mom is pointing to Quinn and says, “I figured you’d be panicked about Quinn.” I stared at her dumbfounded.

“What?” “He lost you. He was lost. When we came out of the gift shop, he was just standing there crying.”

Oh. My. Stomach drop.

Calmed the Panic in My Heart

I hugged Quinn and told him how sorry I was. That I didn’t know he was coming. And then I poured on the praise. So proud of him for staying just where he lost me, just like I’ve always told him. Proud that he didn’t come looking for me. That he stayed put as we’d practiced. And then, “Next, I’m sure you would have looked for another Mommy and told her you were lost, right? So, so proud of you.” I hugged and wiped his tears away and calmed the panic in my heart.

He was lost and I didn’t even know it.

I was a high school teacher, once upon a time, so I don’t fear my children reaching their teenage years. In fact, I quite look forward to it. However, there is something about adolescence that allows feelings and emotions to get lost from parents. Teenagers seem to experience so much that they don’t share. You’ll often hear parents say that they had no idea their children were experiencing various emotions or struggles.

How do we keep from losing our kids?

I don’t know. But I do know that helping to surround them with other adults whom you respect, encouraging friendships with kids who will make them stronger, and finding a church home where their spiritual needs can be met can go a long way towards making sure someone is there to find them when they are lost.

And we pray. Pray that the Lord opens our eyes to really see them. To allow them to be who they are and to give us the words to encourage open communication and sharing of their feelings.

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

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