Know Your Kids

parenting

 

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” -Debra Ginsberg

 

kids, parenting, children

 

My son Stephen and I went for an evening walk last night. At first, I envisioned a leisurely walk by myself with only my camera for company–the glow of the evening summer sky  is perfect for taking pictures.

 

But, when me and my camera were only halfway down the driveway, Stephen yelled from the screen door, “Mom, can I come with you?”

 

“Sure, Stephen. C’mon. “

 

“Put your shoes on first.”

 

“No, you can’t ride your scooter. We’re taking a W A L K.”

 

roses, natural light, sun flare

 

So, my eight-year-old walking companion, my camera and I set out at a slow pace, holding tightly to the solid white line of the country road. Few cars travel down this street, but when they come, it’s fast and furious. I walked on the outside with Stephen in the grass,  just like my dad used to do with me. He would take me for long walks but never let me walk on the outside.

 

country, road, wildflowers, dandelions

 

We stopped along the way to capture wildflowers and tall grass, especially where the light hit them just right. Stephen patiently endured all my stopping for photos, while I listened to his ongoing monologue about what animals he would buy if he had a million dollars (a parrot, a monkey, and a bald eagle, by the way). I encouraged him to maybe look into being a zookeeper.

{Tangent: We have a long standing agreement in our house that we are not going to own pets. The last thing I want to spend my spare time doing is vacuuming dog hair. Cleaning up after 4 kids is enough. But, how can I not get this kid a pet??? He talks about animals 24-7!}

 

Daisies Unhinged

 

Stephen is a wonderfully zany kid. For example, he’s been wearing the same 7 rubber bracelets–the ones with the different slogans on them like “Follow your Dreams” and “Jesus for Japan” (just to name a few) — on his right arm for two years straight. He never takes them off; he wears them with pride. He lost one swimming once and responded with heartbreak: “That was my favorite one. It said Never Give Up.”  Me: <Gulp. Heart in throat.>

 

slogan bracelets

 

 

 

Last night, he wanted me to photograph his superhero poses (he was wearing his Spiderman pajama shirt after all)  and he especially wanted me to capture him in midair, like Superman.

 

I did. We giggled. For a brief moment, when he saw the picture, I think he thought he could really fly. His chest swelled, his eyes beamed–just like they do when someone asks him about his bracelets.

 

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superman

Yesssss!

 

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The thing about last night is that Stephen and I were getting to know each other, not just as a mom and a son, but as people. This little boy is  wonderfully made in the image of God, with all sorts of dreams and interests and aspirations. I want to know about them.

This wasn’t a time of correction or discussing his “issues”. There’s a time for that. It was a time for being interested, to listen, to engage.

Soon his identity will transcend being our son, and really  does already. He belongs to Jesus.

And one day, he’ll go and be a zookeeper and have his own friends and be a neighbor, parent, husband to someone else. He’ll become the person God created him to be and I’ve got a front row seat (for now).

So, for my final Parenting in Weakness post, I encourage you to know your children as the people God has created them to be. Guide them, discipline them, and make them do chores. Those are good things. But make sure you KNOW them, too.

Take time to listen to their longings.

Know their particular gifts  and encourage them to use them.

Don’t just chide them in their weakness, help them; because you know that you are weak, too.

Give your children enough space to let God speak to their hearts rather than your endless lecturing (so, so, so hard).

Finally, chill out. You’re not the Writer of the Story, you’re  a supporting actor at best. You have an important job for sure, but ultimately, the Author is up to things you can’t control, see, or even imagine.  That’s hard because it doesn’t feel safe when we’re not in control.

But we cling to the promise that He is good, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Rest in that truth.

 

light, arrow, road sign

 

And Babies Don't Keep
  • http://www.andbabiesdontkeep.com/ Kristi

    I love that quote at the beginning so much! I’ve heard it before but couldn’t find it…thank you! Beautiful post.

  • Julie Davis

    I know. Me, too. It perfectly encapsulates the inner life of parenting. I need to read one of her books.
    Thanks, K.

  • Joel Ledbetter

    Love that kid and loved the post!

  • Julie Davis

    Thanks, Joel! He’s a keeper, for sure.

  • Rachel Bradley

    Thanks, Julie. We so often forget (I do everyday!) that we are NOT the author! There’s such peace and comfort in that, yet we constantly take the reigns back :)

  • Julie Davis

    I know. It’s a reminder to myself as well. Jesus is up to bigger things behind the scenes than we can imagine or see on the surface. Thanks for responding, Rachel!

  • Liz

    Sweet encouragement.

    • Julie Davis

      Thanks, Liz.

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