“God gave you your kids for a reason.” My friend emphasized the word your. She was giving me a pep talk in my parenting, the kind of pep talk you never forget. She went on to tell me that my kids weren’t mine by chance. God chose me to mother and my husband to father these specific kids.
He did the same for you. Your kids aren’t yours by chance. God chose you to parent your specific children.
Read that last sentence again. Savor it. Let that truth sink in.
So often as parents we fall into a dangerous trap. We look at other parents and see all the ways we fall short.
This family has a book shelf filled with nature journals. That family can sing five-part harmony and perform a ridiculous acapella version of “Be Thou My Vision” which racked-up over 20,000 views. Another family got 30 plus on their ACT and received a full-ride scholarship to the school of their choice.
All real-life examples courtesy of my friends, by the way.
We are tempted to look at these accomplishments and see all the places we don’t measure up.
You’ve been there, haven’t you?
I sure have.
Because buying food and toys at Wally World is just fine. And those kids tackled their mom right after that photo was taken and she ended up in the ER with a concussion.
Maybe your kids don’t need the nature journals. Maybe they don’t need to occupy the middle harmony in a sweet chord. Maybe they don’t even need a college degree.
What your kids need is quite simple. What they need is YOU.
Your parenting. Your strengths. Your gifts. Even your weaknesses.
That’s why they are YOUR kids.
They need YOU.
My kids don’t have nature journals. And we’ve never gotten past two-part harmony, which usually derails a few measures in. And I don’t know if we’ll reach the 30s on our ACTs.
Sometimes I’m tempted to wallow in all the places I fall short.
But… I have a few things going for me. I love to read. I love to watch lectures and debates and documentaries. I love to sink my teeth into a serious social issue and wrestle it to the ground.
Yep, I’m a nerd through and through.
And God has given me some seriously nerdy kids. I’ll never forget… when my oldest child was about 8 we were studying a timeline of historical events, and she looks up at me and says,
“Mommy, the Japanese Hein period was kind of like European feudalism which was like American slavery which is like our welfare system.”
And I thought, “Dear Lord, what a nerd you’ve given me!”
She was the most adorable little 2nd grade nerd on the face of the planet. And she was mine. And that wasn’t an accident.
You see, I’m a dot-connector. Always have been. I lay awake at night connecting dots. And God gave me a dot-connector to raise. That little dot-connector is now 15, and she watches documentaries and debates and reads Orwell and Fitzgerald short stories for fun. So often she amazes me with the dots she connects.
And for a little while longer, I’m running a few paces in front of her. For just a little while longer, I’ve got a dot-connecting baton in my hand and I’m showing her the way. And for a little while longer, she is reaching out for that baton in my hand.
But soon, much sooner than I’d like, she’ll grab that baton and she will run to places I’ve never been. Places I can only dream about. She’ll connect dots that I’ve never even seen. And I will watch in awe.
If you don’t know what it is yet, ask God to show you. He will.
And stop looking at the baton that other parent has. Your kids don’t need it.
God has given you a baton. Rest assured, it is the very baton that your kids need. They are reaching out for it. So nurture it. Hold it tight. And when the time comes—PASS THE BATON, knowing that what you gave your child is exactly what your child needs.
Catherine Segars is an award-winning actress and playwright — turned stay-at-home-mother—turned author, speaker and blogger. She is dedicated to helping other women see their worth in a season when they often feel less-than.
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