I was thinking about how we need to cultivate our children’s strengths and then as I really sat moving soil, pulling weeds, and seeing a beautiful picture of parenthood in all this, I was also kind of seeing a negative side. A huge part of my weakness as a parent is expecting them to be born perfectly well-trained. I would even go so far as to say that I expect them to fit this mold that I have in my head of well-mannered, always ready to help without ever having to think of a need, meticulously groomed, and never loud, obnoxious, or strong-willed.
Strong-willed is the one I was especially thinking on. Surely we all have that one child that is strong-willed. He/She has the idea of his [her] way or the highway. What if that is their strength? What if they are the next generation of leaders that we are trying to mash or mold into this meek and docile spirit? While it is our job to rear respectful children and loving, I could only think of a situation like Samson and Delilah. While here we are looking at physical strength, it also hit me that this could also be looked at differently. First of all, he did resist again and again the secret of his strength. While we think of him as a weak sort of man finally giving into the wiles of a lovely and seducing woman, I started to think of that woman and her role in the story. Her job was to find the secret of his strength and to weaken him. What a two-by-four on the head! Do I want to be that kind of mom that breaks my child’s strength? To be sure, I want to raise a well-mannered child, like I already addressed and would be redundant to bring up again all the qualities I want my children to possess.
And then the thought came of the opposite nature. What about the child that seems weak and unable to cope in life? What kind of character will he [she] be? Is it the kind nurses, doctors, or veterinarians are made of? It is not good for them to be afraid of every new situation that arises, but how do strengthen them but not change who they are? What if God had told Moses to “grow up and speak for yourself” instead of calling Aaron to help him? God our Father has shown that He is aware of our weaknesses and helps us overcome those with those that can help. Do we show that same kind love and helpfulness in the weakness of our children?
What a humbling thought to realize that my job isn’t so cut and dried as I assumed it to be. I know I have often used this quote, it happens to be one of my favorites, but it is said that “where you tend a rose, a thistle cannot grow,” and how more beautiful that quote gets every time I hear it. Roses are strong and tenacious bushes when well cared for. They withstand some harsh conditions, like a tree, but are beautiful and can produce some very fragrant blooms. While pansies are my favorite flower, I cannot resist a beautiful, sweet-smelling, and vibrant rose. How much more are all these are in a child!
I will never be able to write a parenting book. Lord knows I have made too many mistakes and continue to make the same ones over and over again. There are days when I end and think I have all my ducks in a row… and then there are weeks when I wonder if I will ever figure out this thing called parenting. But I really felt that this was something that I needed to write and to share.