“Children are a gift from God, but much like any cleverly wrapped present, you have no clue what youre going to find when you open it…”
By Brie Gowen
I think parenting is hard no matter how you slice it, but when you factor in the wide spectrum of personalities children can possess, that much to a parents distress is far different from their own, you have a clash of ideals. Children are a gift from God, but much like any cleverly wrapped present, you have no clue what youre going to find when you open it. And with kids even what you see is not what you get. Parenting is a practice in patience for sure, but also a unique learning experience. Even when it is exasperating.
I can remember with my first daughter making my way hesitantly through her infant existence. As a new mom it was certainly challenging, but looking back I realize she was an easy baby. Shes also grown into a very simple to understand child thus far. I never had to baby proof my home when she was little, and though she could crawl, if you set her down in one place she was quite content to just stay there playing with a single toy. Shes a very loving young lady with a precious heart for those around her, and shes obedient as much as she is gracious. Quick to smile, and even quicker to forgive, shes an easy child to raise. She just is.
This morning as I sat on the sofa pulling on my socks I prayed for each of my girls in turn, and when I came to my middle child I laughed a bit as I prayed for her safety. I always do. I often joke with my husband that she must have an entire host of guardian angels surrounding her at all times as thats the only explanation for zero emergency room visits in her almost four years of life. Shes my accident prone child, and if theres something to trip over she would be the one to find it. Heck, she trips when theres nothing there.
As I gazed at her gorgeous features while she slept, no doubt dreaming of something adorable, my heart melted at how much I loved her. I loved her so much! And it was a good thing. She was what you might term my challenging child, or my difficult one. Whether you called it independent, strong-willed, or highly spirited, she was indeed a personality all her own. She pushed every button I had, sometimes twice or more, and made me mutter things I would just rather not.
She was the child that would boldly defy you right to your face, but also give you the most passionate embrace youd ever experienced. Her wheels were always turning for what exploration and mayhem should could conjure up next, but when she smiled I was sure the earth stopped spinning. I called her my star. My bright, shining star. She was so far away from the planet I had imagined her to be, but her brilliance radiated for light years.
This morning as I prayed specifically for this wonderful girl who made me pay for my raising I asked God to show me wisdom.
Show me how to parent her, Lord, in a way that would cultivate the special gifts you have planted in her. Help me to lead her closer to you, and to help her emerge as the young woman you have designed her to be.
The thing was I didnt want her to be easy. I didnt want her to be like her big sister, or even like me. I realized something about my girl. She wasnt difficult, she was different. She wasnt so much a challenge as she was a unique soul. All children are, some just more than others. I believe God places special personalities in each of His creations, and my job as a mother isnt to squash her spirit, but to help it shine. Its not my job to capture my little star and place her in a box, but rather to help her radiate Gods goodness in the way He has in mind.
Its not because shes the middle child, contrary to popular believe, but I think its because the Lord has a special calling on her life. Hes going to use her independent, strong spirit to do amazing things for His kingdom, and I just pray I can help her cultivate her gifts to bring glory to her creator. Shes not so much difficult as she is on a divine path for Gods glory, and I wonder how many of us loose our shine along the way trying to fit into a mold thats easier for the world to handle?
So what I do is try to never let her forget how special she is. Sure, I set boundaries. Theres rules, consequences, and plenty of loving discipline, but theres also a lot of hugs. When she seems to be bouncing back and forth through her day like some eighties video game I take the time to stop her, make eye contact, and tell her how loved she is despite my frequent, frequent correction. Thats where my pet name came in.
I love you, my little bright and shining star. Youre very special to mommy.
But I do that with my oldest too. I take tiny blocks of time alone with each one to sow feelings of love and appreciation for the unique spirits they possess. In the end there is no easy child or difficult child. Not really. There is simply different children with different gifts that God can use in different ways. My prayer is that I can lead them to discover their gifts, and never make them feel like they should change who He has made them to be.
About the Author:Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When shes not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. Shed love for you to check out her blogat BrieGowen.com.
Read more: http://www.faithit.com/thing-you-need-know-about-your-difficult-child-brie-gowen/