The delivery room nurse carefully hands over a wrapped bundle and leaves a tired and happy
Mom looking into a tiny face. Mom begins a deliberate search through the blanket looking for
toes and fingers. She sees little dimples and exclaims that they belong to Grandma, and those
long delicate fingers are just like Grandpas'. That mop of red hair comes from Mommy, the
bright blue eyes from Daddy. Every similarity to family members confirms that the child she
holds in her arms belongs to her. Each visitor who takes that tiny one into their arms looks for
something that bears a resemblance to themselves or others on the family tree. They all
belong to one another.
Every change as the child grows is watched carefully for family resemblances. Parents are
surprised when traits spring up, but most are welcomed as a badge of honor from ancestors
remembered. It is amazing to see those connections in our children. These associations
help to strengthen the bonds we share. It is very normal for us to search out in our child those
things with which we can relate. Common bonds provide paths of communication and
understanding. But when we look into those beautiful faces, we should not expect to see a
perfect reflection of ourselves. The combination of puzzle pieces from generations and the
unique measure of personhood from the Creator create a new and singular person.
Children are not mirrors in which we can look and see our past. It is not possible to go back in
time through our children and make right the mistakes we made, or replicate our successes.
Parents who try to see a mirrored reflection of themselves may set a trap for their child to fail in their God-given purpose. When we emphasize only the similarities between us, the child begins to believe that he or she must live up to that image. It is more important to give the child a sense of being who they were created to be, and that is ultimately decided between
them and God.
Children are windows. Looking past physical attributes into their thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams parents can perceive a world of possibilities. If we look close enough we may even see the fingerprint of God. It is pure pleasure to watch a child unfold like a blossom that comes from a mysterious seed. We cannot know the final outcome. We can only watch with wonder
as the petals unfold and reveal their beauty. Of course, our job as parents is not to just watch through the window. We are given the task of providing the sunshine of spiritual truth, a steady flow of water for quenching the thirst of curiosity, and lots of fertilizer to feed the body as it grows.
It takes practice and prayer to see a child or any person with the eyes of God. It takes work to discover what makes a person light up. If we can discover the passions others hold we can bring them encouragement. Parenting to find the child's, "way in which he should go," demands becoming a student as well as a teacher for your child.
How do we become a student of our son or daughter? We do our homework. We ask questions, spend quality time with them, and watch and listen. Body language, as well as tone of voice, are just as important as the words they use. Ask them why they chose a certain way of doing something. Try not to make them change because of your preferences before you discover why they behave as they do. Be open to listen to them without interruption. Read their story every day and a pattern will emerge. You will discover those unique pieces of the puzzle that make them who they are.
Father, You are the perfect parent. You do see your image in us, but You also recognize that we, ourselves must find out who You made us to be. Forgive us for living our lives for ourselves and not for You. Thank You for showing us how to parent our children. Let us always run to You for wisdom and gidance for those tough parenting times. We trust You.