Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6
My children are now growing up in a world where they will no longer know what it is like to be picked last, or maybe even not at all for a team. A world where a passing grade will be handed to them regardless of whether they are ready to advance to the next level or not. A world that is continually finding new ways to remove the one who created it in the first place. A world that in some ways will have the power to prevent our children from shining to their full potential because the drive for them to work hard for what they want is no longer there.
As a mom this scares me.
I want my children to make mistakes, to fail sometimes, and to fall down and scrape their knees. Not because I want them to feel pain, but because I want them to learn from them, to problem solve, to have a drive to succeed, and to get back up and try again. I want them to need Jesus, to seek him when they need help. I want them to learn these things now so that when their backpacks are exchanged for brief cases they are not confused as to why they were not picked and given that promotion. I want them to be ready for the world that they will soon have to navigate, and work their way through. A life where you only get out of it… what you put in.
I want them to know that they won’t always make the team. That sometimes there will be someone who plays better than them. That sometimes they can practice, practice, practice, but it doesn’t always make perfect….but that no matter what they are always on my team, and I on theirs.
I want them to know that they do not need acceptance from others. That in this life they may be called dumb, not good enough, annoying, and weird at times….that those names will hurt them and cause them to question themselves, but that the one who loves them most in this world….that the one that created them in his image thought they were perfect enough to die for.
I want them to realize that people will hurt and disappoint them in this world. That I will hurt and disappoint them. I want them to not look for or depend on human perfection because there is no such thing, but to instead rely on a God that is.
With that comes the fact that you cannot please everyone. That the choices they make for their life or family may be best for them although others may disagree. That I may disagree. I want them to know that my path and dreams for their life are just that…mine. That I may sometimes unintentionally push my own on to them. I want them to be confident and strong enough in their selves and in their faith to stand up for what they believe in. To stay focused on God-pleasing instead of people-pleasing.
I want them to guard their hearts. I want them to choose their spouse wisely. To choose quality over quantity. I want them to learn that sometimes the most beautiful of people may not come in the prettiest of packages. That the wrapping paper doesn’t matter as it gets tattered and thrown away…but that what is on the inside of that gift is what we treasure. I want them to choose a man with a caring heart over a muscly bod. A love for God, over a love for money, and a love for them, over lust.
I want them to wait for marriage. Not because I want them to miss out on ” normal high school experiences or college life.” Not because I want them to be made fun of or ” teach them to summit to a man”, but because I want them to know that their worth is not defined by their bodies. That they themselves are enough. That sex is not something you give away to win someone over, but is a gift you give to the one who has won you. I want them to know that sex before marriage can lead to pain and comparison to other partners. That you can not get that first time back. That I am not just “preaching” it, but that I have lived it.
I want them to know that marriage is not the fairy tale that they watch continually in their Disney movies. That it is like a roller coaster full of excitement, fear, and butterflies. That sometimes there will be hills so steep that you just make it to the top. I want them to know that their spouse will drive them crazy. That they will argue, make up, and argue again. That there will be times in their lives where they may love them, but not like them. That there will be moments that they question if their partner is really the one…if it is worth it. That like anything their ride will sometimes need repairs…to try and fix it, but that if they choose to get off I will be there to help them put their feet back on solid ground.
I want them to know that in this life they will fail….but that failing leads to determination to try again. Sometimes with a better outcome then they would have had before. That they will experience pain. Pain they cause themselves, and pain that they don’t deserve.That things will happen that will shake them to their inner core and will be beyond all understanding, but that through pain comes knowledge, growth, and strength that they would never have had otherwise.
I want to share with them my mistakes and my own failures. Not because I want to “give them ideas”, but because I am not embarrassed by them. That they are mistakes and they do not define who I am, and will not define who they are. That they have a chance to make better choices. I want them to know that I have messed up….that I am not perfect and I do not expect them to be.
I want them to know how much they are loved and cherished. That the moment their tiny slippery bodies were placed on my chest that was it. That in that moment I became theirs. That I am their biggest advocate for their needs. That I would do anything to protect them from this world but I cannot. That all I can do is be there to help them up, to comfort them, and to guide them until I am no longer here to do so. That no matter how old they get I will forever brush their hair out of their face, and hold them tightly. I want them to know that this parenting thing is hard. That I am trying my very best, and sometimes I may unintentionally make the wrong decisions in their lives. That I will sometimes not know the answers or not have the ones they want to hear.
Most importantly I want them to know a God that does have the answers. I want them to know him not because they feel pressured to, but because they desire to. I want them to learn to pray when they need guidance, to lean in to him when they are pain, and to praise him not only through the good……but through the storms. I want them to experience a love far greater than my own. A love that they could never imagine. A love that will remain present and constant in their lives long after I am gone.