The following is a guest post written by Laura Thomas of This Eternal Moment.
“I’m no more a wonder than anyone. And that’s what makes the world magical. Every baby’s a seed of wonder — that gets watered or it doesn’t.”
~ Dean Koontz, Relentless
I’ll never forget the day when my daughter Grace decided to get out of the jogging stroller and run with me. I was doing my regular 2½ mile jogging loop in our neighborhood and had only begun when she begged me to let her run with me.
At first I must admit that I hesitated: “Mommy might run too fast for you, honey,” and “If you get tired, you can’t just sit back down.”
She was undaunted and insisted. She wanted to run. I gave in. She then proceeded to run the entire 2½ miles without stopping, whining or missing a beat.
She was three years old.
She continued this habit with me whenever I ran for the next several months, until she got a bike and decided she could get around faster that way. To this day, she continues to surprise me with what she is capable of if I will only believe in her and let her try, cheering her on every step of the way.
To parent is to give birth, but more importantly it is to nurture and raise a child. To water, sow and cultivate the life within a small, often helpless, very dependent human being.
Photo by Mary St. George
Sometimes I think that as a mother I need to be reminded that I have a very powerful, influential job that requires great humility.
The words we speak, the body language that we utilize, the decisions that we make concerning our kids will influence and impact them for good or for bad and will harness and release positive potential or quench it like water on a fire.
To see our role and purpose within the greater scheme of their lives, we must take a step back and look at the broader horizon of the time that we have with them. Our children are not our own; we have been entrusted with them to raise until they are adults themselves, at which point we must release them to God and to the world for the purposes and the future before them.
Receiving your child as a gift to be stewarded is to acknowledge that we are not their owner, but their guide.
When we see a strong-willed toddler throwing a tantrum, do we have the perspective to see his future as a focused and driven adult, standing strong for what he believes regardless of the pressures or adversities around him?
When we see a young child trying for the fifteenth time to ride her bike, getting up again and again even after bumps and bruises, do we see the woman within her who, 15 years later, will push through bureaucracy, lack of funds and an uncertain future just to open up her own small business?
When we look at our teenage son, eager to buy a dilapidated car so he can learn how to fix it up himself, do we see a future engineer, mechanic and creative problem-solver?
Or do we just see the headache the tantrum causes; band-aids and torn pants from constant falls, and the car grease that gets on our furniture?
In these times it might help us to remember our own childhood dreams and desires. When did your father, mother or teacher take you by the hand and say, “you can do it!” or “let’s figure that out together.”
Photo by Tony Alter
Or, on the other hand, when did someone tell you, “sorry, you just don’t have what it takes,” and kill the seed of hope within you?
I had an English teacher who told me in high school I would never be a good writer.
“Your grammar is horrible,” she told me.
Thank God I had other teachers in my life who told me differently, because I desired more than anything to be just what she told me I could not be: a writer … and that I have become.
We have a choice to make …
We can see our child struggling with reading and say, “you can do it,” or groan and sigh, expressing our impatience.
We can discipline and instruct our children on how to channel their passions and emotions towards good, or to let that very same passion destroy them.
We can sigh and say, “that project will be too messy, sorry,” or we can buy them paint, roll out the newspaper and let them get to work.
We can choose to be annoyed by constant questions, or to engage and explore the whys and hows and whats of life with our children.
What are the acorns of possibility in your own child’s life? How can you water and nurture them so that a mighty oak may emerge from within?