Photo by hotblack on Morgue File.
Children are truly amazing creat . . . uh, people. If you have followed my blog for any time, you will know I am a parent. Being a parent, while a huge responsibility, can be both frustrating and comical at times. We as parents have all experienced the precious moments; those moments when your son or daughter says or does something that is heart-warming and sweet. Perhaps they say I love you in their little, sweet toddler voice. Maybe they color a picture just for you. Maybe they ask if they can sit in your lap and watch cartoons.
Of course, we also have experienced the tantrums and fits! The early morning grunts and groans. The hissy-fits because they have to brush their teeth. The screams of torture as you brush the tangles from their hair. Speaking of which, it seems to be a phenomenon of every generation, as a child, to scream when getting their hair brushed. And every mother I have ever been around all say the same thing, Oh, hush, this does not hurt! Yet, when they were a child they screamed too! So, I’m just thinking out loud here, that maybe it does actually hurt! Well, either way, kids can test a parent’s patience at times too.
I have a step-daughter, who is now fifteen. She got her learner’s permit several months ago and has been driving a good bit. Like all of us at her age, she is still learning how to do all the little things one must do when driving. I had really forgotten about most of it, to be honest, because it has all become second nature to me. But, watching her go through those driver’s growing pains, reminded me of just how much you have to do and watch out for as a driver. But, to her credit she does a good job.
She, like most girls her age, is fifteen going on twenty-five! She’s into fashion and make-up and good-looking guys, you know, all that stuff, to which, I cannot relate! She enjoys singing and acting as well. She was just in the musical Hairspray at her school. In the morning performance, she played Penny, the best friend of Tracy. The part called for her to remember several lines of dialogue and lyrics to songs. She did a great job. She seems to be a natural at it.
My four-year old, who is going on sixteen!, is a handful at times. She has beautiful red hair and the fiery disposition that seems to often go along with it! She can be sweet and cuddly at times; and, at others, she can be a real bear! She has informed her mother and me that she does not like patience! We have told her, on several occasions, that she needs to calm down and have patience. You see, she has a tendency to become upset and angry when something does not work right the first time. We are trying to teach her to develop her problem solving skills, which in her mind, means throwing the blasted thing away and turning red in the face!
Almost every time we have told her to be patient, she looks at us, with face as red as hot iron and says, But, I don’t like that! By that, of course, she means patience.
One Sunday, after church, I asked her what she was learning from her teachers. She thought and thought and just shrugged her shoulders. I asked her again what her teachers were teaching her at church. She again thought for a bit and said, They teach me about God. I thought this was a great answer. So, I prodded a bit more, always a mistake!, and asked her what specifically they had taught her about God. Again, she thought for a second and said matter-of-factly, Everything! I thought, well, I guess my work has been done for me!
My youngest daughter, who is now two-years old (and going on forty!), is, often times, more of a handful than her two older sisters combined! My wife often jokes, or at least I think it is a joke!, that if our youngest had been first, we would not have had anymore after her! It is God’s providence at work in our family that she was last, I suppose! She is a little Blondie, like her mom. She can be sweet and flirty one minute and a fire-breathing dragon the next!
She has learned to cross her arms and make a pouty face anytime she does not get her way. She can also be rather fickle. She will ask for something and then, once she has it, she decides she wants something else. When we do not accommodate her every whim, she resorts to the folded arms technique!
She has learned the divide and conquer trick too. If her mother scolds her for something, she cries out, I want daddy! If I scold her for something, she cries out, I want mommy! If we both scold her at the same time, she cries out for whoever’s name she can think of first!
Through all of this, I would not change a thing . . . well, maybe a couple of things! But seriously, parenting is a gift from God. As I parent my girls, I learn more and more about God, who is my Father. I pray everyday for the three of them. I pray everyday for my wife. I pray for both of us that we would be the parents we need to be. I pray we would show forth to our girls the love and grace of Christ. I pray for their safety. I am thankful for their past. I pray for their present−that they will grow and mature and develop. I pray for their future−that they will be healthy and wise and followers of Christ.
I am not looking to be the World’s Number One Dad! I simply want to be the best dad I can be to them. This is something I am incapable of on my own, I know this very well. I am, for sure a work in progress. I know it is the grace and work of Christ in me, by his Holy Spirit, helping me be what I need to be for them. To me, this is what being a parent is all about. It is not about how much allowance you give them or how big of a bedroom you can afford for them. It is not about buying them all the newest fashions and brand name clothing.
It really is all about being a Christlike, godly parent. I know this may sound too simplistic or sappy for some; but, I believe wholeheartedly it is the truth. As I said, I am a work in progress, but, with God’s help, it is possible.
If you are parent, I say to you, God bless you. I know it can be tiring, even frustrating at times, but any noble pursuit will be filled with such things. If a pursuit is too easy, it probably is not worth very much. So, keep striving, keep praying and keep holing up to your girls and boys the example of Christ our Lord. If you do this, you will never be a failure as a parent.