We had a lot of places to go today, so you can imagine my dismay when my three-year-old made her debut out of her bedroom this morning in a fleece shirt, jeans, pink tutu, pink sunglasses, two bracelets, and a necklace around her tiny neck. When I tried to coerce her into changing out of this apparel, she stubbornly refused, insisting that she looked beautiful (which she really did!). As any mom knows, there are just some battles you allow your children to win in order to keep harmony in the home. So away we went – Mommy, Ephraim, and Ballerina Hannah – to the library, the bank, back to the library, and finally to Chick-fil-A. Of course, we had more than just a few stares as we held our heads high, marching around in public like it was the most natural thing in the world to be seen with a ballerina!
It is so amazing to me how much of a free spirit Hannah is. She’s nothing like me, always wary of a new situation and new people. Instead, she boldly steps out in front of people and introduces herself, hopeful that each new person will be her next best friend! She is such a free spirit, creating new ideas for play, making up her own songs to sing, dressing herself in some pretty outrageous and yet somehow amazing outfits. I am so honored to be her mother as she forces me to change and branch out of my comfort zone.
But isn’t it amazing how each child is so different? Ephraim is definitely more laid back, more desperate to hang with Mommy, and a lot less verbal than Hannah was at his age. He is loving and kind, but he always wants to be sure that I am right there beside him in case he needs me. But in some ways, Ephraim is more of a handful than Hannah ever was when she began to walk! He is constantly trying to put things in the toilet (including his hands), climbing on things (and then falling off and hurting himself), and pulling things out of plugs (including those child-proof covers!). I am blessed to be his mommy, too, as I realize my shortcomings and find him loving me anyway!
It is our responsibility as parents to recognize the different qualities in our children and to help them grow into the adults they should become. Have you really looked at your children lately? Do you know their areas of strength and weakness? Are you encouraging them in their dreams? Each child is a blessing – yes, even the ones who are constantly giving us trouble. Love them, teach them, mold them. Let them dress themselves (within reason, of course). Listen to their ideas and encourage them every single day. It takes years to build a child’s self-esteem but just one unkind word to tear them down.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps. 139:14).