The other night when I was at JoAnn fabrics, I saw the cutest little boy. He was about 3 or 4 years old…a tiny, tow-headed angel, sitting in the front of the shopping cart, chipperly rattling off random questions as his dad shopped. He reminded me of what I picture Will being like in a couple of years…
I’ve been thinking that I am really excited for when Will is a little older. I picture us cuddling up to read books together, having “dance parties” (just the two of us), heading over to Caribou just to color, singing songs at the top of our lungs…all that kind of stuff. He will, of course, be the essence of sweetness — perfectly compliant, never in need of a reprimand, will never have a tantrum, will be completely agreeable towards any idea I present to him, and will simply smile and nod as I calmly explain to him the ins and outs of life over peanut butter & jelly. I will never lose my patience with him, and wisdom will be dripping from my tongue as I respond to his deep questions about life. The birds will sing, the angels will rejoice and a rainbow will fill the sky as we tickle-fight our worries away.
Then I am snapped back into reality. Oh yeah, I gave birth to a human.
Oh yeah – I am a human.
Then I freak out.
While I am sure (or at least hope!) that many of the aforementioned activities will take place (the dance parties, the coloring at Caribou, etc.), the reality that I (a sinner) will have another little person (a sinner) in my daily care is a little bit nervewracking.
For the first time in my life, I can sort of (sort of) understand why it’s so easy for some mothers to….um….”over-indulge” (my husband’s fancy word for “spoil”) their child. I want my child to be happy. Plus, of course, he’s just a sweet little tiny baby (which I could easily still see myself saying when he’s a teenager) — he would never mean to do any harm. It would be really easy to let alot of things go…to just give him what he wants, when he wants it, no matter how he asks for it.
“Whatever makes you happy, dearie.”
But, then again, I don’t want to be one of those over-bearing types. You know, the kind that wield their authority over their child just so they know who’s boss. (“That’ll put the fear of me – er, God – in ya!”). While I do believe that, in an earthly sense, God’s design is that the parents are responsible for their child’s discipline and are a child’s authority (“Children, obey your parents…”), I also firmly believe that, in a way, parents are on the same “level” as their children in God’s eyes – both are created in His image, and both are held accountable under His sight, so parents need to parent in accordance with that reality, as well (“Fathers, do not exasperate your children”).
A delicate balance needs to be struck. How to strike it is beyond me. Bookstores are packed with books touting various methods and the results of the latest psychological research.
I am overwhelmed.
I just want to parent the way God wants us to. I want to follow His instructions so that I can raise a happy, healthy, well-adjusted and (above all) God-fearing young man. I just want someone to sit right down and clarify exactly how that’s supposed to work — specifically, please.
That leads me to only one place, which is at Jesus’ feet, seeking the wisdom of Scripture and hanging on His every word. It’s a place I don’t find myself at nearly as much as I should, I’m afraid.
Which maybe means that God’s got me right where He wants me, I guess.