(perhaps) individuals decided I needed to hear their opinion on how “expressive, strong-willed, and much of a handful” she was. Some liked to predict hers (and my husband and I’s) future, by saying we had our hands full when she was older, they’d be praying for us, and it was going to be “interesting” to see how she turned out. Rather than working with her and her growing pains as she learned who she needed to be in life, a couple tried to place labels on her – potentially following her the rest of her life.
I recall meeting those people with a smile, and saying it doesn’t HAVE to be that way. Basically, thanks but no thanks. I remember going into the elementary school office and meeting with the guidance counselor about how my daughter would not be pigeon holed because she may have been having a “bad year”. I remember asking a teacher over the phone WHY she hadn’t contacted me about my child’s behavior, before I did (I had a hunch things were off). I remember telling my daughter, “If I don’t stick up for you until you are old enough to do it, no one else is going to. It is my job as your mother.” Sure it embarrassed my daughter a bit, even my husband, but in the end, my girl new her mom had her back.
I was elated when my daughter was placed in a classroom with a teacher much like myself. She was a true godsend! She saw in my daughter (as well as every other child in the room), what I saw – potential, and only what God saw. Around this time, we began to establish our core values as a family, and I posted them on our refrigerator: Christ, family, friends, academics, and talents. Each of these items, in that order, was to be our daily focus.
We agreed that without Christ at the center of everything we do, we are not bringing our best. We felt strongly that next to Christ, our family deserved the very best of who we are; we are one another’s closest neighbors. Friends are also very important, especially those friendships that are just as close as family. Both my husband and I place a very high priority on academics, and the girls have always taken pride in doing their best in school. Finally, they are both very talented and have much to offer by way of athleticism and artistic creativity. At one point the values became a bit reversed, and both my daughters felt it.
During this time sports seemed to run life, followed by academics. Attitudes towards family and Christ were lukewarm at best. The whole family felt the pain of the misplaced priorities, and God intervened. He pressed it upon my heart to sit down and talk with them and ask them how they felt we were living our values, compared to what we had posted on our fridge. I asked them, “What good is it to be a great soccer player or swimmer, and to have great grades, if Christ is not at the center of your life and you treat your family worse than an acquaintance at school?” Everyone agreed it was the opposite, and everyone agreed we needed to do something about it. And we did. My junior high schooler seemingly took it to heart the most.
I have seen the changes in her and this morning God reminded me of the events leading up to this moment. He first reminded me to never accept what someone else says about me or those closest to me – what HE says trumps everything. Second, He reminded me the divine order He sets for a family’s life will always prevail, and will be painful if ignored. Finally, He reminded me to always, always, always be sensitive and responsive to the leading of His Holy Spirit, those closest to me are depending on it.
Have a great Wednesday J
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