Yesterday was Siblings Day.
You know this if you spent any time on Facebook. Guilty as charged!
I actually spent about an hour scanning and uploading pictures of my siblings, Ken’s siblings, and then an entire photo album of my own kids. Believe it or not, I laughed, smiled, and cried through the process. I love pictures and manage to walk through a million memories when I allow myself time to look through them. I wanted my daughter in WY and my son in SD to have a little smile time in their day.
I began the day still thinking on the bonds we forge in our home, especially my desires as a parent for the memories my kids will walk into the world with to be good and whole. My kids have grown resilient through a life time of military moves. They have welcomed the process of discovery with each new State we make our home in and mastered fears of foreign languages and cultures, with the rewards of local Doner Kebap owners knowing their names. They are confident in reading metro maps in Italy or Washington DC, and truly enjoy a good museum. While the military mobile life may be challenging, I think the chance to experience the world has been a great blessing for them.
Admit it. As a parent you want to shape the very best view of family and siblings through how you care for and love your kids. I’ll say it out loud. I’m happy my kids have never known divorce, the loss of a parent to cancer, or the blending of a family. My siblings did. When I look back over these past 23 years of parenting it comforts me that I have done what I could to insulate and create the best life possible for these kids.
Parents love. That’s what we do. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor 13:4-8)
The reality is that not one of us is capable of loving this way. I can balance my absolute failures and fits in living with these little people for years with the many times my heart has won the battle for love. I am blessed when they confess our home is a safe haven, a place of confident love, a home of peace and joy. These are the echoes of a Creator God through time, the only parent who can truly insulate and create the best life possible for these kids.
I found words today for an idea I have imperfectly parented with for years. I don’t want to be such a great parent that my kids are more dependent on me than the Lord. Maybe this is why I have confessed my failures to them so easily, reminding them that to be truly human I was designed to be totally transparent with God and completely unified with His will. Sorry kids, I’m just not fully human. Only Jesus was.
I think this has heightened my compassion for so many parents. I can’t imagine trying to raise these kids with a reality they were completely dependent on me. Maybe I’d be driven to map out their entire future, from school choices, sports, activities, and volunteer opportunities. I’d probably want to protect them from consequences and run interference with anyone who challenged them. I’m guilty of these things. Even now as a homeschooling mom with high school staring me in the face next year I’m tempted to assume full responsibility for their lives. Want a litmus test for evidence of God in your parenting? God-dependent parents are kind. They do not envy or boast and are not proud. They are not rude, self-seeking, or easily angered. They do not keep record of wrongs or delight in evil. They delight in truth. They always protect, trust, hope, and persevere. They never fail.
How did you fare? Yeah, me too. But count yourself among the favored, for you have sight to point your children through your imperfect love to the only One they can really count on. God. A family who knows they are dependent on Him truly is insulated.