Monday, January 25, 2010

Seminary and Law School... Or Maybe Not.

Last week, as I was tucking Josiah into bed and after I had kissed him goodnight, he asked me a question.

"Momma, do they still speak Hebrew in Israel?"

"Hmm...buddy, I am really not sure but I am happy to look that up for you." I replied.

Josiah was thoughtful a moment and answered, "I would like to translate the alphabet into Hebrew for them."

Josiah is 7.

Last night, Mark and I were watching the Vikings game and the kids were off doing things of their own for a while. Josiah wandered back in and sat down next to me to read. I could hear Noah and Benjamin laughing at an inside Star Wars joke and Elizabeth singing to her dolls. I leaned over and kissed Josiah on the top of his head and asked him what he was reading.

"The Plague of Hail." he answered calmly.

I looked down and found him holding the Bible in one hand and tracing the sentences with the other.

He is seven years old.

Sometimes I think we are given a glimpse into what our children may grow to become. The glimpses may be brief and we may miss them altogether but I am convinced those views are there. And maybe it will all come to fruition or maybe our vision is clouded and we see what we want to see but the longer I mother these children, the more I think it is true. We get to see their gifts. We get to see their strengths. And maybe, just maybe, those qualities have something to do with who they will become.

Josiah, I think, is headed for the ministry.

When Noah and Benjamin were little, Mark and I were struggling to find time to spend with one another. Felt like bedtime kept getting pushed later in the night and by the time the kids were asleep, we were too tired to talk. We decided to talk to the boys about our situation so they could hear that going to bed and staying in bed was really important to us. The boys were 3 and 4.

"Boys, daddy and I love each other," we began, "and we are going to be married to each other for the rest of our lives. We love to spend time with both of you but we need time to talk, time to spend together, so our relationship to each other stays strong. So, we need you to stay in bed so we can have that time; so we can be momma and daddy to you and husband and wife to each other for a very long time."

Noah sat thoughtfully and then began, "How long were you dating before you married each other and had Ben and me?". He was four years old at the time.

I looked at my boy and said, "Four years buddy. We dated each other for four years."

Without missing a beat, Noah responded, "Then I guess you have had time to talk."

Law school. Noah is headed for law school.

Sometimes we get a little glimpse into what our children do well...

Like when Benjamin runs down a soccer field as fast as his legs will go... and suddenly a smile breaks out on his beautiful face.

Like when Elizabeth walks into a new situation, a new place, a new class with the confidence of one far older than she... as though everyone there had been awaiting her arrival.

Little glimpses. Beautiful peeks into a possible future... or at the very least, an opportunity to see what they love, what they are great at, what they have been given to use to make a difference in this world.

And what are we to do with it all? Should I run off and open a law school savings account or start saving seminary dollars? Should I fast track Noah into speech and debate clubs and remove the distraction of soccer and baseball? Why do we get to see it at all?

What if the point of these views or visions is three-fold? I see it like this...

1. I have the chance to affirm my child in what it is they do best. But I have to be really careful to remind myself that strengths have a way of changing over time. I need to be open to what is new in my children today. Yesterday it may have been law school, tomorrow it may be teaching. But, hearing me name their strengths can effect the way my children see themselves. It can help them remember, on a really tough day, that there are things that they do well... and that these gifts will be needed some day.

2. I have the chance to help my child prepare for their place in the whole, wide, world. As they are affirmed and their gifts are seen, I have the delightful opportunity to remind each of my four that they are important and that God has a plan for their lives. Now, I don't know if it will matter at all but when I think of how that must feel, to grow up knowing you are needed and important, it really makes me smile. What does that do for the heart of a six-year-old struggling to learn to read? What does that do to the esteem of a 13 year old learning to stand up against the pressure of peers. Knowing you have a purpose... a God-created purpose... seems like a pretty powerful and positive thing.

3. I get to be reminded of the wonder in it all. There is great WONDER in parenting, friends. Sometimes we are too weary to see it but honestly, it is there. Every day, I get to wake up to these four beautiful faces and discover strengths and weaknesses that are fully owned by them. I cannot take the credit, nor should I try. But, watching them develop into the people they will be is an amazing thing to even be this close to. Benjamin's athleticism, Elizabeth's compassion, Josiah's heart, Noah's vision... all of it astounds me. Watching a little person I so deeply love find out what matters to them... and what they can do with that... is completely and totally wonder-full.

I have no idea what will become of my kids when the path they choose is theirs. I have no idea if a lawyer or pastor live somewhere under my roof. And truly, none of that matters. What matters to me is that today I find a way to help them see what God has given them to offer back to His great big world. Today, what matters is that I affirm my babies and help them find their feet. Because someday THEY will choose. Someday, the paths will be before them and in a step of faith and courage they will set their foot upon one and a new part of their journey will begin. And I can only hope that what I say today and what I see today will help to prepare them for that path... and that as they take that very first step, they will do so knowing they are loved and accepted and seen and heard. And always have been.

Blessings on your day.

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