Monday, May 3, 2010

One Giant Leap

I fear that I shall forever be known at my church as the woman whose children don't know how to use stairs.  Sunday night, at the yearly awards ceremony for our kids' Awana program, two of my boys seemed to be a little challenged when it came to using stairs.  The stage at the front of the auditorium stands about three feet tall, and there are four or five small steps up the front.  As my two youngest were taking the stage with their fellow Puggles, Aaron (who is 2) fell completely off the side of the steps.  He recovered quickly and scampered back up them to sing "Jesus Loves Me" with the other children, but then gave a repeat performance on the way back down.  My son, Sam, waited patiently for his name to be called when it was his group's turn to make their way onto the stage.  He watched child after child walk up the steps and take their place with the rest of the group, but when it was finally his turn he sized up the edge of the stage and gave it one big jump.  My husband was mortified, but I was too busy laughing to be embarrassed.  The woman in front of us turned around to laughingly ask what was "with" our boys and stairs.  By the end of the evening we lost count of the number of people who had asked if we needed help teaching our boys to use stairs.  Hilarious.

Now, I figure Scott and I could go a couple of directions with this.   We could be completely embarrassed by our son and punish him for his antics.  After all, he's been told before to walk nicely in the church auditorium.  Right after he jumped OFF the stage during a Sunday morning children's sermon.  So really, he should know better.  Or we could chalk it up to Sam just being Sam.  He's a rambunctious five-year-old boy who loves the challenge of climbing up or jumping off something.  Nearly every adult in that room was the parent of their own unique child.  I seriously doubt that they saw Sam's method of getting on stage as a flaw in our parenting or a weakness in our discipline.  I'm sure they just saw a goofy little boy who decided to conquer the stage in one giant leap.

So here's my point:  Our children each have their own individual personalities.  While it is my job as a parent to give my kids boundaries and to teach them appropriate behaviors, I've still got to understand and appreciate who they are as people, as God created them to be.  Sure, I could get embarrassed every time they do something silly in public, or I could just enjoy their silliness and love them for who they are.  (Now don't get me wrong -- there are definitely some behaviors that are NOT acceptable, which I will never simply laugh off.  It's distinguishing between the two that I need to work on!)  I don't want to raise four identical kids; I want to allow my children to be their unique selves.  And I want to cherish each one of them for their one-of-a-kind personalities.  Which, sometimes, takes one giant leap...of faith.

Lord, "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." (Ps. 139:14) and so are my children.  Help me to appreciate them for the people that you have created them to be.  Amen.

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