My kids love to blow bubbles in their milk. In fact they have contests to see how bubbly they can make it and whether they can get it to overflow. Not very good table manners, I know. Every time they do it, I remind them of that fact.
Like many mothers, I often wonder how effective my parenting really is. Half the time I wonder if I am doing it right and all of the time I am asking God to give me wisdom and make up for my deficiencies. And in the past few days he has showed me that he is doing just that.
On Monday we had parent-teacher interviews for each of our kids. Like most children, ours are strong in some areas and need to improve in others. The boys’ teacher made various comments and suggestions but the two comments which stood out had nothing to do with education in the traditional sense of the word. First she shared a story about how Blake had, during their ring time, begun to pray unprompted. The asked Jesus to heal the leg a classmate’s mother who had, that day, been in surgery.
And then, during Ryan’s portion of the interview, she related how our boy has befriended an autistic boy in the class and helps him with activities. Ryan has subsequently come home and told us proudly of the progress this little guy is making in art.
Those two stories made me prouder than any academic achievements ever could.
Then today, Emily and I had a profound conversation while she was sitting on the toilet. It went like this:
Emily: “Mommy, do you know it is not important how pretty I am on the outside. What counts is how pretty I am on the inside, inside.”
Me: “That’s right, my darling.”
Emily: “Mom, do you know why I said inside, inside?”
Me: “No, why?”
Emily: “Because I don’t mean the inside where my blood and my bones are. I mean the inside, I side where Jesus lives.”
Incredible! As adults we grapple with the concept of body, soul and spirit, and here is my five-year-old nailing it.
So what I realized is this: my kids have lots to learn and there is stuff I wish they would get, already. But pencil grips, table manners and cutting skills aside, there are far bigger things being learnt all the time: like the power of prayer, compassion and an assurance of God’s presence within us. So once again God has overwhelmed me with his goodness and I rest assured that this parenting thing is far bigger than I can imagine but that my Father has me more than covered.