Kids are tough. True 'dat.
I had a discussion last night with another father about newborns and the whole pregnancy/birth process. Like we did anything other than stand there with our hands in our pockets thru the whole thing. But there is in the US a tendency to handle newborns with such soft gloves. Very tender and gentle. Other countries are much more cavalier to pass the babies around to other children in the family. 6&8 year olds being the caretaker and watching over newborns while mom tends to the rest of life. A large part of that divide must be our reduced need to immediately start back tending to life (few US mom's are out tending crops lest they have sufficient food after the harvest). Another factor is we forget - kids are tough. I'm embarrassed by the accidents that have happened in our family (drops, couch rolls, stepped on, sat on, etc). Everyone is doing fine despite our clumsiness. Thank God, kids are tough.
One of my bigger frustrations is seeing kids gang up and pick on a singled out child. Back and forth banter is one thing, but when it gets to 5+ on 1, the world is collapsing. At that level there isn't a hole deep enough to crawl into and hide that will silence the cutting voices. I hope I am raising my kids to do better than I did. I'll admit to taking part in these mobs and have been a mob member more than a target. I want better from my kids; and not to be a non-participant. I want my kids to know right and wrong; and fight for what is right and fight against injustice. Kids are tough. Whether the target of the slings and arrows, drawing fire, or protecting the target it is not an easy task. Dear God, kids are tough, let my kids be tougher.
Parenting often requires the role of the police. I'm their parent not their best friend. I think one of my biggest frustrations is food battles. I remember them as a kid and resented brussel sprouts, and salisbury steak. I could manage peas by swallowing them whole with a drink - never tasted any of them. I loved chicken but not the skin, for a while I would only eat white or dark meat (I forget which). Now I'm at the other end of the battle over 5 peas, 2 bites of lasagna, chicken (but not skin), etc. It is not only a battle of sufficient nourishment. It is a battle of mentality - try new things, try different things. It is a battle over authority - because I said so. Ugh. Kids are tough.
Parenting also continually teaches you lessons. Often these are lessons learned by being pushed and pulled into new areas you would never venture on your own. Mostly your heart is constantly on your sleeve to be used daily. When they look you square in the eye and defy you to see what you do; it bruises. When they say mommy & daddy for the first time, or produce a handwritten card with crooked letter; it melts. When they are left out of a game or upset at a name someone called them; it breaks. It is a roller coaster, kids are tough.
All this to say:
- despite our clumsy hands and awkward feet - kids are tough.
- despite all being images of God and having different strengths and weaknesses - kids are tough.
- regardless of lofty parental goals or low and weary attempts - kids are tough.
- no matter the effort to keep it hidden, your heart melts and burns - kids are tough.