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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Urgency of Parenting

Dear Sarah 10 years from now,
(So, this is a letter to me for later)

Well, has it been worth it?  Didn't people tell you the time would fly?  I'm guessing it has flown - and you are probably reading this with wide-eyed wonder thinking, how did you know I would say this?!

Did you realize that the days and weeks could pass so quickly and that you could fill them with frivolous necessities or with rich nourishment meant to cultivate soul-fruit?  When you were 11 years into the parenting journey, it suddenly dawned on you that you could fill the days, weeks, months and years with adequate food, shelter, activity, education and even a fun event or two - some entertainment and social maneuvering - and raise a body yet forfeit a soul.

I trust you haven't sought to do that in these remaining years.  That you have seen your parenting as so much more than seeing to the physical, social and emotional needs of your kids.  Didn't you one day realize that the incubation of home-life would quickly expire, and that spiritual starvation could easily set in unless you teach them to feed themselves?

A friend recently told me that there are only a set number of bedtimes you will get with your kids.  And that if you miss one you can't get it back.  Did you remember to take as many of those times as possible?  To whisper, 'I love you!' just one more time?

It is inevitable that they grow - they will grow tall, outgrow shoes, change hairstyles and friends and activities.  I can feed and clothe them physically.  I can entertain and fill their lives with good, enjoyable activity.  I can even enrich their potential - by building their skill sets and knowledge.  But I shudder to think I could harbour their lives for 18 odd years, and fill the hours so full that I never take time to just be with them.  To lay down head-to-head on their pillow at night and wonder at the silliest things, that often lead to the most important things.

How has the journey been, I wonder?  I pray when you read this 10 years from now you will have set your priorities straight.  I hope you have nurtured their spiritual hunger as much or moreso than their physical appetite.

For bread will be requested.
Treats and play-dates will be desired.
Fights will ensue that need a referee.
Laundry will need doing.
'Get your homework done!' will need to be told.
Getting out the door on time will be important.
Saying 'sorry' and hugging your sister will be a lesson to learn.
Eating proper food before candy will be enforced.

All these can be done and time can pass so quickly without your child ever hearing, feeling or knowing, 'I care about you.  I want to know when you hurt, what you long for, and how you think about God.'

Saying - and more than saying - getting your child to know you mean it - these things happens at unexpected times.

Did you take the opportunities to snatch up those moments, to pour yourself into them, to give yourself fully to the task of raising a soul?  Or were you distracted by the many things needing to be done - to the degree that you left their souls suffering neglect and starvation, for want of nourishment?

I hope you will have thought this through.  I hope you will have raised mighty spiritual warriors, rather than sophisticated but empty-hearted bodies.

Let not the guilt pile up.  Only trust God to take you onward on this course to His purposes for you!

With hope for your kids growth,

Sarah
You - 10 years ago.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you - hoping it's not too late - 25 years later. Joanne

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    1. No - it's never too late. God sees and knows us and the hearts of our children. He hears our prayers even after they have fled the nest! I'm confident He fills in our gaps - or there would be no hope! :) Thanks for commenting Joanne.

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