Sunday, October 23, 2011

Releasing The White-Knuckled Mama Grip (and other challenges of parenting)

"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one."
John 17:25

Ask any mother in any culture worldwide; the desire to protect your children from pain is universal. It doesn't matter how you childproof your home, how many parenting books you read or how exclusive your child's educational environment is, pain will happen to your child.

Forget about how scary the outside world is, your front yard becomes a "danger zone" when the training wheels come off your little one's bike. You can protect their head with a helmet, put on elbow and knee pads and dress them in long sleeved, durable clothing, but the moment you let go of the seat, a crash will take place; causing scratches and bruises in obscure little spots you hadn't even thought about. Your little one will probably cry, and you may feel inclined to do the same! You begin to question whether or not your baby was ready for two-wheeled cruising. Suddenly, the bush you've always loved is seen as a scratch-inducing menace, which should be dug up (and possibly burned) as penance for the two-inch abrasion on your child's neck. This continues for a while, until you realize the three choices in front of you:

1.) Humiliate your child by forcing him to continue using training wheels until college

2.) Surround every square inch of your child's body with bubble wrap, fuse a catcher's mask to their bike helmet and insist that winter snow gloves be worn (even in July)


3.) Pick your little one up, brush off the dust and leave particles from their clothing, kiss their owies and encourage them to try again, under your watchful eye.

Bike boo-boos, though monumental at the time, are small potatoes compared to the adventures that come during the school years. Some little delinquent on the bus will make fun of how your child talks, or call him a "baby" for crying. Reckless bands of hooligans will steal your pride and joy's favorite eraser, and have the nerve to lie about it (your child will do such things to other children as well, but that will be irrelevant at the time). Punks in pigtails will taunt your offspring, saying their pictures are dumb (you know better, an art gallery should be so lucky as to posses such a treasure!). Clubs will exclude, best friends will become worst enemies, then best friends again-- and with such flippant frequency, you won't even be able to keep track! That pleasant looking elementary school may look like a place of learning, play and childhood memories, but you know better; it's more like the set of a kiddie soap opera!

All the mothers whose children attend private school or homeschool will inform you that even their children are not immune to this reality. There are meanies at McDonald's, little cretins at co-op, and heaven knows that siblings can be less-than-lovable sometimes!

When the many little bumps of childhood come, we have a Father to whom we can trust with all our worries, cares and concerns. While you hold your little gymnast's trembling hand, God is already at work, healing her broken leg. While you dry your child's tears, God is at work, mending his broken heart. We were given these children to parent, but we as humans were never meant to parent them alone.

We know in our minds that we cannot protect our children 24/7. Even if we keep their immunities strong and monitor their friends closely, trials will come. You can't love away a learning disability, parent away childhood depression or raise a child so confident that abusive stings from a bully don't hurt. What we can do, however, is go to the same God who heals the "small stuff." We can't protect them from pain, but we can pray, as Jesus did for his disciples, that our children would be guarded from the evil one. Equipping them with God's Word can chip away at the lies the world will hurl at them; reminding them of how The Father sees them. Though there are certainly times as parents to intervene, do not have to sit helplessly, wishing that we could shield our children from the world. As they grow, we can continually equip and train them; that they might make a difference here!

Father, as I typed that last sentence, you know how queasy my stomach just got. Give me wisdom, LORD, that I might know when to protect my children and when to equip them.

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About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)