The fun stuff
One of the coolest things about being a full-time parent is getting to watch my son grow up. Some days, he becomes a little more dexterous and can do tighten that screw he couldn’t last week. Yes, my kid is obsessed with tools. Some days, he learns how to express himself better. Today, for example, he clearly told me, “No want school today, Dada.” It was even keel, non-combative and simply a fact that I needed to accept. That fact that he needed to accept was that school was not optional. Some days, it is a feat of strength he accomplishes. Last week, we moved on from the simple playground ladders to the more complex ladder systems that require not just strength but coordination.
The challenging stuff
Those are all the fun things though. Sometimes it is the emotions and whining and the crying that come along with growing up. You see it is painful to grow up. There are new ideas, rules, and boundaries that we may have never noticed existed. We then have a choice. Do we rebel against these new challenges or do we overcome and integrate them? As a parent, I have found that it is my job to help my son overcome these challenges. They still exist but they aren’t as big or as my son says “too scary Dada.”
It is really cool to be able to help him go from flopping on the floor one day to complete and utter acceptance that the new(-ish) rule was always a rule and how could it ever be any different. He goes from rebellion to enforcement overnight. He will promptly explain to Momma or Grammy the new rule and make sure they know how to handle it as well.
The good stuff
Every time he kicks and screams and then changes overnight though, I can’t help but think, “this is how God must feel about me.” I may not literally kick and scream like my son does, but I rebel in much more subtle ways. I have so much more compassion for my little guy because I can see my own rebellions taking on a similar form of childishness from God’s perspective.
Then, my little guy completes the circle I get to imagine that joy and pride God must feel when I finally come around. It is a really cool way to connect with God. It is something we should all pause our lives to think about. How does God feel about me?
We know that God loves us, but that doesn’t mean God likes us at that moment. I love my son when he is throwing a temper tantrum, but I don’t like him especially when that tantrum is in Target over something I would give him if he just asked. Isn’t that how we treat God though? If we just asked, God would give it to us. If we took the time to be non-self-centered ad actually thought about how God feels and thinks and what God wants wouldn’t we be better off? I know my son would have enjoyed the toy I was going to get him at Target should we have been able to remain in the store. I can’t imagine God, a better parent, acting much different.
The deep stuff
All of this leads me to say that God has been teaching me a lot about how God sees other people and me through parenting my son. God loves us just like I love my son which enables me to be compassionate and patient with my son in ways I never expected. It is really cool to experience that kind of closeness with God. I can’t recommend enough that when your kid is losing his/her mind to take a breath and see yourself in the situation (and maybe your spouse). It helps me navigate that stressful situation with my little more clearly and with a lot more compassion. That doesn’t mean I just give in. I rarely give in. I am Dad, the Destroyer of Joy, often, but I can guide him gently though. After all, God does the same thing with me.
Let me know how God has shown himself through your parenting moments? I would love to hear some moments of triumph and utter failure like my Target trip.