I KNEW VERY LITTLE about “child-rearing” when I first got into the business of being a parent. I still don’t think I know very much, but, by the grace of God, the child is still alive. Good thing He makes them sturdy. Anyway, the one thing I think about everyday is how to help my child become a compassionate, generous, and honest person who will honor and serve God above all. That is my only goal for him. And in the process of being present for him and walking that fine line between anticipating precarious situations and being overbearing, I have come to realize that God uses our children to teach us about life and about Him and about us. So, here are some things I have learned so far:
- You know you shouldn’t be doing that. At one-year old, children have a conscience for right and wrong. I have a recliner in the living room with a compartment for holding drinks and storing the electrical plug (it vibrates for a massage effect). I have told my son not to open it and not to play with the cables a number of times, as he seems to be fascinated by the whole set up. Now, my son is a fairly obedient child, but whenever I’m off washing dishes or whatever for a little while and I hear total silence, I know he’s probably doing something he shouldn’t (like chewing on his cardboard books). Every time I catch him, I never yell, but I do call his name and I ask him what he’s doing. As soon as he hears me, he jumps and he immediately drops the incriminating evidence or he tucks it away and walks a different direction, hoping, I suppose that I didn’t notice. He knows I don’t want him doing that, but the temptation overcomes him. It’s cute, I must confess, but I don’t let him get away with it, so he gets a little talk every time. When we grow up, though, it’s not cute. Because, now, doing things we’re not supposed to hurts people—cheating, lying, gossiping… and we KNOW it’s wrong. We just do. This is how we were born. Only we sometimes choose to ignore the pang of guilt, so that we can enjoy the moment, the feeling, the “freedom.” And if we tell ourselves long enough what we are doing is “technically” okay, we might even start to think we believe it.
- Monkey see, monkey do. If I’m rubbing his dad’s back, clapping, folding clothes, wiping the table… he usually finds a way to do it, too. He wants to eat what I’m eating. He wants to brush his teeth with MY toothbrush, not his. As parents, we are our child’s whole world when they’re little. They look up to us; they want to be like us. I don’t know how many parents realize the weight of this. God has given us such power to influence the life of our children. And you know what Spiderman says about power. So we HAVE to ask ourselves every single day: where am I leading my child? Am I showing him the path that leads to life… or am I leading him the path that leads to death? Is my legacy one of honor, truth and integrity, or does my example reek of self-indulgence, dishonesty, and hypocrisy? What does my child hear coming out of my mouth? What does my child see coming into my eyes? Because whatever you do will trickle down. Even when you don’t think they’re looking.
Well, that’s it for today. He’s up from his nap. 🙂