As I blogged last night, my husband and I each had special weekends with our kiddos. This afternoon we were reunited over pizza and tales of our adventures.
After the 7 year old members of our family had been put to bed, my husband and I sat in the kitchen and recapped our observations of our children through the events of the last 36 hours. I'd venture to say that it was my favorite part of the weekend.
We discussed their uniqueness in both their gifts and their rough edges. We talked about what seems to make them tick, what stirs their passions, where they seem to be most successful and what they found frustrating. And we agreed that of all the fun 'things' we did this weekend, the very best part was having space to just connect...for my husband it was a three hour canoeing excursion with the boys. For me it was the time between events K & I just spent chatting. The activities were the draw, but the conversation was the main event.
I simply adore this age. The questions, the assumptions, the way their brains are beginning to pull life together--the glimpses of compassion, friendship, selflessness. We clearly have our normal 7 year old struggles, but these little sneak peaks at the work God is doing in their hearts astounds me.
And because all these years of behavior modification are finally beginning to gel a bit--the cry of my heart is to let them know that I couldn't love them any more, nor could I love them any less. While I know what they are capable of behaviorwise and take seriously my role as their 'life trainer,' my affections for them are not based on the kind of day they had.
I am in a funny place with my parenting strategy these days. My pendulum has shifted back to simplicity. I have put away the checklists and the parenting books for a bit and am focusing on the basics: Loving God. Loving others.
It is far less defined than the checklists that once hung on my refrigerator. But the truth is, everything on those checklists falls into these two categories: Respect for others, honesty, humility, generosity, patience, prayer, faith, self control.
Even though the strategy seems simpler, doing it remains challenging. I am a sinner in a world full of sinners. People are hard. Life is complicated. I have hormones and frustrating days. Everyone else isn't always playing by these rules...but right now I have peace that God just wants me to wake each day committed to loving Him with every fiber in me...and loving other people the way I love myself.
I have become convinced that if my children leave their 19 years in our home knowing a love not based on performance and understanding the centrality of loving God ferociously and other people radically, they will be in His Will.
And laying my head on my pillow at night having spent my day worried with how to do that (as opposed to the 100s of other things I could have worried over instead) will bring the very best kind of peaceful sleep.
Now, Lord, I beg you for the courage, endurance and selflessness required to follow through.