How Well is Your Anchor Set?
by Robin Blumenthal
By Robin Blumenthal 12-13-2022
We were made to connect. Research shows that the number one protective factor when children are going through hard times is the presence of a trusting, loving, and supportive relationship. That makes us as humans – especially as humans who love and reflect Jesus – very powerful indeed. There is power in presence.
How we show up for someone matters. Active listening, eye contact, a gentle touch on the shoulder, a smile, and a soft voice can make all the difference to the people in our lives. But there is a catch. If we are going to truly show up for those around us, if we are going to be an anchor for them, we have to first make sure we are “set”.
In boating, to “set” an anchor means that once the anchor is dropped and has reached the floor of the lake, the boat must reverse as the anchor digs into the lake bottom. The weight of the water on top of the sediment holds the anchor in place. When the anchor line tightens with resistance, the captain stops the pull on the line because the anchor is now “set”. Now the boat can stay in place; it is safe and steady.
Think about how often children and teens “test” us by pushing boundaries. When that happens, they are often seeing if we are “set”. Is our love safe and steady? Is the relationship solid and something that they can count on?
Being “set” does not mean that there are no boundaries or consequences. But it does mean that no matter what happens, we will be there through the storm and the pull, even as consequences happen. The anchor does what it does (even when the boat seems to pull) without anger or frustration.
Just like an anchor needs regular maintenance in order to function, being “set” requires making space to take care of ourselves.We cannot truly show up and remain steady if we are neglecting our needs. When we take the time to stay healthy and rest, we can lean in when the anchor line is being pulled.
Presence is powerful. But, it takes courage, time, energy, and the willingness and commitment to take care of ourselves so that we can remain anchors for those around us. You may be an anchor for a child, a friend, your team, or your church. The truth is that all of us serve as anchors, and we also need to be anchored. In fact, this power of presence is modeled by Jesus himself. Because of His love and example, as our anchor, we can do the same for other people.
Robin is a trauma-informed trainer, parenting coach, speaker, and writer. She also serves as the Outreach Pastor at Pantano Christian Church in Tucson, AZ. She has a passion for partnering with schools and churches. She believes that when our churches, schools, and communities understand the effects of trauma, it changes how we respond and show up for others. When we respond to those around us with compassion and empathy, we help build bridges of connection and healing.
Robin and her husband, Roger, have been married 30 years and have 6 daughters who call them mom and dad, including 4 biological, 1 adopted and 1 unofficially adopted, ranging in age from 18-36. Her life is full with family, grandkids, church, and ministry. She is a certified trainer with the ACEs Consortium and a Trained Independent Facilitator of the Love and Logic® Curriculum (having taught well over 4,000 parents and educators these amazing tools.) She has a B.S. in Child Development and an M.A. in Human Resource Leadership.
Robin published her first book in November of 2020 – Where in the Zoo Are You? – a children’s book with resources to help children talk about their emotions concerning traumatic events like COVID-19.