Yesterday after Sunday School I was greeted in the hallway by our Children's Minister and the Third Grade Sunday School teacher. After a polite greeting I was met with the dreaded words, "We need to talk about (your child's name)."
We were ushered into a closed door conversation with one of our people about an incident that had occurred during the class. I don't mean to be a tease about details, but my kiddo's privacy trumps the curiosity of others. :) Suffice it to say, this child had exercised poor (immature) judgment and had made a comment that needed to be addressed.
As the story was recounted to my husband & me by these beautiful godly women I respect, my initial reaction was to be mortified. My face burned hot. How had my child's nine year old behavior reflected on my performance as a mother?
Because God is IN MY DISH right now about this part of my heart/character, the thoughts were wrangled under control long enough for me to get over myself and think about my child. I noted the shame, the remorse, and the impact this incident was having on my child's heart. So did the Sunday School teacher.
I really appreciated the forgiveness from the offended adult and the way my child was reminded again and again how loved they are--despite their behavior. It was a painfully beautiful conversation.
In the 24 hours since I have been really reflecting on the lesson I will take from the cringe-inducing experience. I think it is this: As they grow, I must be more concerned about growing deep and sturdy roots in my children than I am about the immature fruit they are sometimes producing in this season.
YES, fruit is important as they mature in their faith...but a flash of fruit from a tree that has shallow roots in a short term win. For the long haul of life, these little hearts and souls must be viewed with a long term vision.
I think I focus on behavior more than heart change because I see it as an outward indicator of inner growth. But if I am honest, many times I focus on it because it is what OTHER PEOPLE can see. I don't want to be embarrassed. I want it to look like I am a good Mama raising great kids.
As we all know outward appearances aren't everything. While personas can be appealing, they aren't what will keep our kids grounded in the inevitable storms of life. Longevity, stability and maturity will come from the strength and sustenance of deep roots.
Other people can't necessarily see that kind of progress, but the Lord can...and with His help, so can an invested, praying parent.
There is such a temptation to make our children trick ponies...I pray for the courage and strength to think much more long term than that.
Lord, help me focus on roots, then trust You for the fruit.