With children, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. No matter how embarrassing you think your child's latest stunt is, chances are it has happened to someone else. It goes with the program; children are unpredictable. They are honest to a fault, and yet, they are hopelessly devoted to you, no matter how much egg you have on your face. Psalms 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from God. They are a reward from Him.” God gives us these gifts to bring joy to our lives.
In her article, “And They Played All Day,” on www.aldort.com, Naomi Aldort,one of today's leading Parenting/Family counselors states:
“Life is a game. Perhaps adults have matured and forgotten this essential element
of life called play. We have become serious and have made an artificial distinction between play and work and between play and study. Our children are here to teach us to lighten up, to put a spark in our eyes and Play Life."
Sometimes it is important to just “lighten up” and let them be little.
When my son Chase was three, he was chosen as Innkeeper in the church play. His line was: “No room,” and he was to point to the stable. Even though he managed to get out the two words, they were barely audible. His expression spoke for him, and by the next year his talent really began to shine. He graduated to the role of Shepherd complete with crook. The moment I saw him, I knew there was trouble brewing.
Still, I could not help but swell with pride as my little shepherd marched out with the cast. He was the shortest of the group, but there was no problem seeing him. The pastor had a camera rigged to a huge screen where everyone would get a good view. We all smiled as the little angels made their way to the stage—and around it, and up to the organ, and over to the choir and back, wandering around in childlike curiosity, eager to adapt to their stardom.
“Aren't they adorable,” I whispered to my husband.Just as the shepherds had gotten situated on the risers I turned my attention to them to find Chase. I could not see him. He was on a middle row. Where was he?
Suddenly the shepherd's crook came rising up between two characters on the front row. Everyone was chuckling as my son, the humble shepherd was trying to herd one of the cast off the stage with his crook.
Then another shepherd tried to intervene. They had a brief tug-of-war over the crook before it fell between the risers. My mind was reeling as another shepherd got down between the risers. In my mind I was thinking, “Just let it lie.” I was burying my head in my hands, my cheeks aflame. A part of me was trying not to laugh along with everyone else. A part of me felt like crawling under the seat. The audience was getting a real kick out of the shepherds, and after it was over I was told what a comical success my son had made of the pageant. I just smiled and said, “He takes after his daddy.” What else could I say?
It is much like the time we ran into his preschool teacher at the grocery store, and Ms. Martha said, “Is your Mama cooking more these days?” I looked at her like she had three heads.
“Oh, has he complained about my lack of cooking skills?”
“Um...not really,” she replied, “he just loves Ms. Sue's cooking.”
But I knew better. It had not been two weeks since I had invited my family for dinner. I had cooked several dishes for my visitors from out of town. I was so pleased with how the meal turned out--until Chase came to the table and said, “Wow Mom, Is it Thanksgiving?” The child is not used to having family style meals. I fill our plates from the stove for the three of us, and usually it is simple fare, so naturally he thought it was a holiday. No wonder Ms. Martha thought his mom could not cook. That is what Chase thought too. I was glad that for once I had a buggy load of groceries.
Enjoy those moments, parents, for they are quickly gone. Make memories out of teachable moments. Use everyday events to reinforce these lessons. I relish the memory of teaching my son to tie his shoes, even though his first week in school he paid his friend Adam a quarter to tie them. No wonder I got the note from Ms. Tiffany saying we needed to work on tying. When I told her he had been paying Adam, she just laughed. And once again, I said, “He's just like his daddy.” I fear if we keep doling out quarters, he will find a way to pay someone to do his homework. And yes, kindergärtners have homework these days. If you have not reached the kindergarten stage, just wait. They will be reading by Christmas. By May, they will be doing your taxes. Although Chase already knows the value of a quarter, we now have the task of teaching him to be thrifty, to save the money, and do the labor himself—a much less attractive option for Chase, as well as little entrepreneur Adam.
But, for every embarrassing moment, every crawl-under- the-table-and-hide episode, there are a million and one great moments. I get to hear my son pray that the rain will stop so he and his friend Katie can go swimming. I am amazed as the skies part and the sun appears. I get to hear him pray over a broken DVD remote and lay hands on it in soulful pleas. That remote worked fine within minutes. I get to hear him recount his Sunday School lessons and tell me about “Shadrork, Mooshark, and Abednego.” I get to hear him sing southern gospel with his daddy. As we travel, we turn the volume up and have a sing along.
I am so thankful that God chose to bless me with this wonderful child. He was worth nine months of vomiting, the 27 c-section staples, 4 a.m. feedings, and the poopy diapers. It is ok that I have a couch cushion I have to turn upside down because Chase became artistic with nail polish at the age of 2. It's ok that my car's interior is a rerun of Sanford and Son. Let them be little, I remind myself. Little shepherds and angels make for big blessings.
I had the honor of attending my son's school awards ceremony. My son walked proudly to the podium and received his Character award for honesty and helpfulness. Don't you know this forty-year-old mother was wanting to stand up and cheer! I had to bite my tongue from nudging the lady next to me and crowing, “He takes after his mom...”