Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just wait until...

A few days ago, I was in a conversation with a couple other fellow parents discussing, you guessed it, parenting. I won't go into the gory details, but at one point one of the parents made that so-oft-repeated phrase, "Just wait until..." followed by some child's age that our kids haven't yet reached, and how we should dread this coming time period in raising our children.

Thing is, I'm sick of hearing this. I've been hearing it my whole life. First, it was the, "Just wait until you're in the real world." Then, "Just wait until you have a wife of your own." This, of course, leads to, "Just wait until you have children of your own, until they turn one, until they turn two, until they turn three, until they turn five, seven, ten..."

And yet, each step along this path of "just waiting until", we've not seen it. The problems, the horror, the whatever it is we're supposed to be waiting for.

The thing is, my wife and I firmly believe that children are a blessing from the Lord. A blessing. Not a "kind of" blessing, or a blessing as a newborn, and at eighteen, but not a blessing at all the ages in between. They are blessing every single day. Which means there is a level of responsibility thrown at us, at parents. God has blessed us. In our case, five times so far. And as parents, we have to take that blessing seriously. Our kids will not raise themselves, or naturally become model children. It takes work and effort on our part.

If I were blessed with a new job, would I just sit back and expect the blessings to fall into my lap without me putting in the hard work? Nope.

A few weeks ago, I was reading Psalm 127, and the first verse really struck me. "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders work in vain."

The Lord has laid out a plan for our lives, for how we are to raise our kids, and if our kids are not turning out how we'd like, it might be time to look at ourselves and see what it is we're doing wrong. Parenting is less about the kids, and more about the parents. Our heart, our attitude, our commitment, our willingness to examine ourselves and the sins in our own lives that will ultimately creep into the lives of our children.

I can't help but think that every time a parent says, "Just wait until...", it's that that parent has given in and accepted sinful behavior on the part of their children as unavoidable. I think it can justify the behavior of their own children to warn other parents who aren't in the same "boat" of the storms ahead. That's easier, I suppose, then actually changing yourself as a parent.

My wife and I are constantly having conversations about our children and our parenting. We don't always get it right. Often we completely mess things up. But then we talk about it and vow to fix it. We ask God's forgiveness, and often, ask for the forgiveness of our children.

I have an issue of losing my cool at times. I'll start yelling when I don't need to, when there are better, more effective ways to handle things. It is an ongoing sin in my life that I'm working on. I have to work on it, because otherwise I'm at risk of becoming a "Just wait until" parent myself. After all, as it says in the New Testament, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children."

I fear I'm guilty as charged. But the Bible doesn't just say says it for a reason. It is a call to action on the part of fathers everywhere to step up and do better than they are.

Rather than look at the examples of fellow parents who have children behaving in "Just wait until" ways, I'd rather look at the examples of fellow parents whose children are a blessing from the Lord. Those parents are the ones who put in the hard work and triumphed. And so I strive to be more like them.

On second thought, I suspect that they are striving to be more like Christ. That's why they are succeeding. So, I'll strive for the same. And as I do, I'll always keep in mind that children are a blessing from the Lord. Always.

1 comment:

Vijaya said...

Great post. We also have not had the problems that people warn us, but parenting sure is hard work. This is the one area in which I pray for guidance ALL the time. And we are so very blessed. I am very, very thankful for the Lord and both my husband and I wish that we'd had the wisdom to follow Him when we were younger.

At Easter Vigil last year, my husband and children were baptized, and I was confirmed in the Catholic church. It's really a high point in our lives, comparable to getting married and having our babies! It is forever.

God Bless you and your family.