“Remember who you belong to” is the phrase I tell my teen every morning when she leaves for school, every time I drop her off somewhere and constantly through text throughout her daily travels. 

I’m not sure when I picked it up, maybe it came from something I read in a devotional or from another blogger. But it has now become a part of our daily routine and affirmations that I have no intentions of changing it. 

I do sometimes mix it up and yell “Make good decisions!” a la Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect just to embarrass her. I’m a mom, it’s the little things that bring me joy. 

Going back to “remember who you belong to” has a multitude of meanings for my sweet girl and I’m positive I’ve drilled it home to her why I say this phrase. 

My teen is unique. She has two sets of parents, five sets of grandparents, almost half a dozen younger siblings and an array of additional family members and close family friends who have become family to call her own.

Collectively we are her village. We are her biggest cheerleaders and her support system. She BELONGS to us. We will have her back no matter what fire she is facing.  When she finally decides (because teens <insert eye roll>) what her dreams are, her people will be behind her. 

“Remember who you belong to” is a constant reminder that she BELONGS to something—a family—that is much bigger than the dilemmas of typical teenage life. A sense of belonging that I can only hope and pray will help quench her need feel truly loved instead of searching for love in questionable places. 

“Remember who you belong to” means don’t forget that you have this litter of younger siblings who are watching your every move. The sun rises and sets with her, their big sister. Their eyes light up when she comes home from school or comes for the weekend. I know she didn’t ask for a fan club—but she has one. Perhaps being a role model wasn’t something she were ready for but that job is hers and I need her to remember to take it seriously. 

Now I won’t lie, “remember who you belong to” is also a not so subtle way to remind her that we are always watching and that her behaviors reflect our parenting. We do not demand perfection from our children, perfection is unattainable. We do demand that our children are kind, polite and respectful. I’m so thankful we are raising our children in the small town we grew up in because there are always infinite sets of eyes on her—even when Mom is far away. 

Remember who you belong to” also holds another special meaning between me and my teen. It reminds her that even though I am her mother, her true Father in Heaven is ultimately the one who she belongs to. I can drill home manners and kindness until the end of time but, if she doesn’t remember that she herself is a walking, breathing vessel to show others the sweet grace of Jesus, then all my parenting attempts are completely in vain. 

Lastly, and I cringe at the thought, but God forbid something should happen to either one of us after leaving a drop off—IF, just IF, “remember who you belong to” happened to be the last words I spoke to her—my soul would be at peace. 

But let’s not think about that because “remember who you belong to” God’s got big plans for you and me both, kid. 

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Meredith Bleakley

Meredith Bleakley writes as Small Town Tall Girl.  A wife and mom of three—a toddler, a teen and one in between, she has a background in politics and campaigns. While primarily a SAHM, she is active in her beloved small town of Crystal River, Florida.