Hello, and welcome to The Overflow
of this episode is Show Up. The
material in this episode is inspired by
Seen by Will Hutcherson & Chinwé Williams.
Note: I will talk a lot about mental
health, but please note this is not a
substitute for therapy or mental health
A Brief Recap
In our last episode, you might recall that when we become hopeless and disconnected from our emotional state, the two halves of the brain begin to separate. This dis-pairing process is called emotional detachment.
When the two sides of our brain are detached, it makes dealing with the constant flow of emotions difficult.
When kids or adults feel seen, it helps the two parts of the brain come back together.
There are tools that can be used to aid the pairing process.
First Pairing Tool – Show Up
If you don’t get anything else, pay attention to this chapter. Showing up is the foundation for all of the other pairing tools.
“…presence influences healing more than anything.”
[Story about Sharon from the book]
“In moments of despair, the people we love need our “outside the door” kind of presence. That kind of presence creates safety like nothing else can. It may seem small, but when we show up, the brain responds in predictable ways.”
“Remember the parent-child attachment we discussed earlier? Showing up isn’t the goal of parenting; secure attachment is the goal. But showing up is the beginning step to accomplish that goal.”
5 Ways to Show Up
1. Show Up Before They Ask You To
As kids grow into teenagers, it can often give parents the idea that their child doesn’t need them anymore. This starts when a child is suddenly embarrassed to have their parent around, and it can feel as though they are pushing you away. It is easy for parents to get offended or hurt and assume their child doesn’t need them.
While it can certainly feel this way, kids often need parents more as they grow into their teen years. It is critical that parents initiate regular, quality time with their teens.
2. Show Up for What Matters to Them
If you do not know what matters to your child, it is time to put on your detective hat. What matters to a teen may not be the most enjoyable activity for their parent. Regardless, it is important to make this process about them.
- Go with them to their sporting activities, dance, ballet, plays, etc.
- Take them to see their favorite musician or band in concert.
- If they’re into superheroes, go to the opening of their favorite character.
- Play video games with them.
This is a time when you show up with no agenda of your own. Simply enjoy time with them.
3. Show Up When It’s Inconvenient
In many moments, it is easy to feel like you are not needed or wanted as a parent. In their time of crisis, real or imaginary, show up. As parents, we have been showing up their whole lives until this point. This season may look a little different, but it is just as important as when they were little.
As kids mature, this might look like staying up late with them or picking them up from a party where they felt uncomfortable or unsafe.
It’s important as parents that we show up, especially when it’s inconvenient.
4. Show Up Often
Find ways to be predictably available.
Here are a few ideas:
• Create a “conversation place” in your home. A place that is just for conversations. No phones, no screens, just people.
• Be intentional about creating moments. Be available during drive times, evenings, and bedtimes.
• If there is a time when you start to realize your kids are most likely to talk or open up, clear that time in your schedule.
• Text them occasionally to let them know you are thinking about them or praying for them. (Not to the extent you’re stalking, of course.)
The act of showing up often in predictable ways that are not overbearing is the foundation of showing them you care.
5. Show Up Undistracted
In today’s always-on, always-connected world, it is easy for adults to assume that the overuse of technology is a kid’s problem. The truth is that many adults misuse technology as much as kids do.
It’s important that we learn how to set boundaries and to be intentional about showing up with our full attention available.
Show Up When They’re Hurting
In John, Chapter 11, before Jesus does the unthinkable and raises Lazarus from the dead, we see the ultimate example of showing up for those hurting from loss.
Even though Jesus knew that he was about to perform a miracle and the situation would be miraculously resolved, he took time to show up when they were hurting.
In John 11:35, the Bible says, “Jesus wept.”
“Showing up is the beginning. It makes healing possible, because you’re creating a secure attachment. When you create a secure attachment, kids and teens feel loved. Now, we can take even more steps to pair the brain’s emotional and logical processing back together. The tools that follow will help you to maximize what happens when you show up so that you can create a deep connection —one that brings healing.”
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of this. As a parent, mentor, or coach, you do not need to be perfect, but showing up is half of the work.
“When you show up, the pairing process begins. Now that you’re face to face, you can begin to really see them.”
[Exercise from the book]