I was sitting in my first volunteer meeting. I had arrived early, with my insulated coffee cup, brightly colored notebook for taking conscientious notes, and my years of experience with kids. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I was feeling confident that I would be able to make a contribution to the children’s ministry. Then the organizer opened his presentation. His first words: “We’ve got two new kids in the k-2 class who are really requiring a lot of attention.” To him it was just a passing remark- to me it was the wind going out of my sails. There was no doubt in my mind that the two kids he mentioned had to be two of mine. My kids were relatively new to the class and had already brought me reports of wrestling in class and telling the teacher their entire life story during lesson time. I just knew that my kids were the problem.
Please don’t judge me for being quick to accuse my children. I have often felt that my kids are always the problem. For many years it seemed every pick up from Sunday school involved a report of “He had a fit,” “She bit so and so,” or “He’s just too rough.” I’ve had the teachers ambiguously suggest I may want to consider some sort of testing. I am sick to admit that I have been embarrassed by my children’s behavior, and I have been hurt by people’s judgment. Even well-meaning people describe my children as “passionate” and “wild.” I have often felt that despite my best efforts I am completely failing in the biblical mandate to train up my children.
For once, though, when the organizer replied to my email, it was not my children who were “requiring a lot of attention.” In fact, I volunteered in their class today and they didn’t interrupt the lesson once. Furthermore, their passion made them some of the most delightfully engaged worshipers. They were the ones singing along just like the teacher wanted. At other times this week I was so encouraged to see my children showing confidence, or thoughtfulness, or self-control beyond what I expected. In short, I noticed my kids have grown up a bit. They aren’t perfect, (I still noticed one of my children trying to throw a shoe at girl he felt was being rude,) but they have grown.
Philippians 4:8 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, present your requests to the Lord and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 4:2 says “Devote yourself to prayer keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”
Someone once told me “Your kids will grow up- very few high schoolers still wear diapers.” God made our kids the way He did for a reason and sometimes they don’t need an instant fix to change them. I think God will help us wisely train our kids, but meanwhile I think He is pleased when we trust His plan for our kid’s lives, and when we try to find reasons for thanksgiving in the very uniqueness of how He made them.