Monthly Archives: September 2013

Children Are Only Young Once

Only Young Once


A Mother’s Prayer

Three ChildrenLord, my children are growing so fast. They’re so precious to you. And to me. Watch over them, Jesus. Their hearts. Their spirits. Their minds. Their bodies.

Only you know what you have in store for them. What you will ask of them. How you have planned to them to learn of you and work with you to change the world.

Work in their lives to prepare them for the future you have designed for each one specifically. Give them strength, wisdom, and joy. Help them to fulfill their unique destinies. To make a different in this world – whether small or great. The difference you have planned in the way you have ordained.

And help me as their mother to watch over them as well. To teach them. To train them. To be an image of your love, your patience, your insight, your care.

Things will come up today that will threaten my peace or theirs. Bring your spirit full and wondrous into this household, your love that veils all things that are wrong or hurtful or sad. Instead, bring hope, a spirit of humility and love, a mind of eagerness and wonder, a heart of strength and purpose.

Help me remember, today and every day, that they are your children given to me on loan for only a short time. Help me love and care for them with my whole heart … and to remember your love and care for them as a Father.

Thank you for your love and your care for all of us, your children.

Teaching Kids How to Say Goodbye

saying goodbyeA friend visited from India last week. My kids were excited that he was coming and brimming over with stories to tell him, things to show him, and ideas of things to do together. We spent a day at a national park and had a great visit. But, as time often tends to do, it flew by. Every day I heard from one or the other kids, “I wish he was staying longer.”

On the last day of his visit, my youngest – who probably didn’t even remember him from when we lives in India – was nigh distraught. “I don’t want him to leave, because I love him,” he told me a couple of times.

When we dropped him off at the bus station, again as Aiden waved goodbye through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, he turned to me. “I don’t want him to leave, because I love him.”

Saying goodbye. I think it is a relatively new thing for the kids, although the older two are a bit more familiar with it, as they remember moving to California from India. I’ve moved over 20 times in my life. Across state lines. Across nations. Across seas.

I’ve said a lot of goodbyes, some more poignant than others. Some for the last time while in this world. Some with the hope of seeing loved ones again. Others with that inner hint that I won’t, at least for a very long time.

But how do you pass all that on to your children, especially the ones that seem almost too young to grasp concepts that can’t easily be explained? How do you explain to them the importance of living in the present, being thankful for every moment, yet not living for today?

Living for the hope of tomorrow. Of eternity.

Last night again, as I kissed the kids good night, my youngest expressed his sadness in having to say goodbye. “When you’re sad,” I told him, “you can remember the fun times you had and you can also pray for the people you remember.” He asked for a story instead. I’m not sure how deeply my advice went.

But they will face more goodbyes. Some more poignant than others. Yet there is joy, hope, and purpose … in every day and in every circumstance. I’m still working towards that understanding. And if I can help my children understand it as well – or at least work towards it – even goodbyes won’t be so bad.

Question of the Day (Answer at your own risk)

a happy boyA writer acquaintance of mine (a brilliant mother of five), creator of the website “Manna for Moms” sometimes posts a “Question of the Day” on Facebook, usually related to parenting.

A couple weeks ago she posted this one:

QOTD: What are (at least) two of your strengths and only one weakness, as pertaining to being a parent?

I clicked on the comment box and thought for a second. Then I thought for a minute. Then two. Nothing came. I couldn’t think of even one strength I have as a parent, much less two. Maybe if she had switched the order, two weaknesses and a strength, I could have come up with something.

I minimized the page, figuring I’d come back to it later. I never did.

It’s not that I couldn’t think of anything. It was that every possible “strength” I thought of had to be qualified, meaning it didn’t really count.

I thought of putting, “I try to keep my eye out for ‘teachable moments'” but then I remembered all those teachable moments that passed by without me taking notice of them or making the most of such times. So I couldn’t put that down.

I thought of putting, “I try to teach my kids practical skills and let them help me with jobs” but then I thought of all those skills I have yet to teach my kids, and the things I probably should have helped them master by now which I haven’t. I couldn’t put that down either.

A few more things came to mind, yet each one had a “but” to it, a point that disqualified that act or mindset as a strength. (Maybe I could have put down that I’m a realistic parent.)

I copied down the question as I really did want to answer it, but even now, weeks later, I’m having a difficult time coming up with anything.

I try to notice things and be “in the moment” as a parent but I fail in that all too often.

I love my kids and try to show them, but often my frustrations or impatience get in the way of that.

Then I realized the question wasn’t, “In what area are you absolutely perfect as a parent?” If that was the case, no parent could answer it. But we don’t have to be perfect. We just have to try.

I looked back over my responses and noticed that every one of them had the word “try.” Yes, there are different levels of “try” and some of the lower levels are more a cop-out than an honest effort. But when we, as parents, are making that “honest effort” sometimes that’s the best we can do.

I think it’s enough for our children. And should be enough for us too.

My two strengths as a mother?

  1. I love my kids more than anything in this world.
  2. I try … and when I fail (and I do every day) … I try again.

My weakness?

  1. I need to tell them every day that I love them, and that sometimes the best thing we can do is just keep trying.