When we’re running late and the clock is ticking to get out of the house, a certain five-year-old suddenly feels it necessary to move in slow motion. As I’m throwing wipes in the diaper bag and corralling children, he’s taking it easy, kicking his feet up, and then remembering now would certainly be the best time to send out a (snail-pace) search party for that missing Lego.
And then there’s the two-year-old who lives in my house. I never have to worry about how that one feels. Confusion does not abound regarding his thoughts, preferences, wants, or needs. When he’s less than thrilled, this manifests into tantrums, into demands, into negotiations that make me feel super prepared for if the moment ever comes where I have to jump into a high-risk position at the State Department dealing with dictators.
And I wonder why the grey hairs continue to sprout out of my head.
But what if I flipped the script in the frustrating moments, looking to the future instead of the current crisis?
What if I used these trying times as a crystal ball to see how these qualities in our kids might manifest themselves in the future? What about if I noticed the goodness and nurtured the strong-willed child and the easy-going kiddo?
Yesterday, I listened to a talk by Sherry Surratt, CEO of MOPS International. She shared how those aspects of our kids’ personalities that can drive us up-the-wall as parents manifest themselves in amazing ways as our children grow.
Her strong-willed daughter turned out to be an incredible leader who stands firm and isn’t afraid to take a stand. Her relaxed son turned into a father with heaping amounts of patience and grace.
What if I saw my kids for who they’re becoming, not for what is happening in the here and now?
I marvel at the specific and unique ways my children are wired. I see the creativity and compassion that their little hearts exude and I’m so grateful that I get to be someone who calls out the goodness in their hearts, empowering and equipping them to become children and teenagers and adults who use their strengths and talents and gifts to love God and love others.
And how does God see us?
Through Jesus, he covers us in grace and lavishes love. He sees us for our true selves — he sees the best-version, the true-version of Kayla, not the person who is quick to judge or lose her temper. He’s a loving father that says the old has gone, the new has come.
A little dose of perspective does wonders in the parenting trenches.