I came across my third son’s baby book this past week and I immediately was taken back over 30 years ago. He was our third son born in 4 ½ years. The year he was born was hard--very hard. We were living in Michigan and it was an extremely cold winter with many days in a row under -20 degrees. It was hard to get out of our small house with three young boys and some days the walls seemed to close in on me.
But, most days were lovely. They were filled with baby kisses, games, laughter and wonderful memories of reading to all three, waiting for Daddy to get home and teaching the baby to do a great many things.
It made me remember all the advice I got…bad advice really. Advice from people who knew me and those who didn't. “Just wait,” they’d say. “Wait till the baby is running, wait till they are teens, wait till ….” The implication was that my family was doomed to disappoint me and I was a fool to think they wouldn't.
Actually, I just got some like it the other day. I had my sweet three-year-old granddaughter with me and a well meaning woman said, “Oh, she sure is cute, with that curly hair and blue eyes. Enjoy the time now, in a few years she won’t want to be seen with you.”
Those words to the wise, just like the baby book, took me back 30 years when people used to predict my three sons would become lazy menaces when they were teens. Twenty-five ago people predicted my daughter would not want to be seen with me in public in a few short years and some basically said my kids [and all kids] bring nothing but pain and sadness to a family.
I am happy to say none of their predictions came true.
I say this to encourage those of you who are in the child rearing stage right now and have nay-sayers predicting all sorts of dire consequences and heartaches in a sort of “I know better, you will see; your kids will be a disappointment, so enjoy them while they are young,” way. Or, if you are homeschooling, they like to predict your children will be uneducated, unsocialized citizens and that you are ruining them by teaching them at home.
Don’t listen and don’t worry. I firmly believe that God will equip you as you come to difficulties and chances are you will enjoy your children and grandchildren at every stage.
Oh, there may be a few rough patches. I think most families have a few, but maybe your kids will like to be around you, will enjoy your company, will still be part of the team you dream of.
I have enjoyed every stage with my kids. Sure, there may be long days or weeks, or times when you pray like crazy-- even more than normal-- that God’s will be done in their lives and for His extra protection over them. But I am here to say, looking back from the other side [my kids are all adults with homes and families of their own], that every age was a joy.
The teen years were lots of fun, with kids coming and going at all hours of the days and nights. It was exciting to see where they would go, who they would marry and what they would do. I loved listening to their hopes and dreams. I loved that I was part of their world.
The dire predictions did not come true and I don’t think they will come true as I enjoy the next generation either. I enjoy the time with my little granddaughters but I also look forward to the young ladies and women they will become. I look forward to discussing books, shopping, hiking and canning applesauce with them. I look forward to passing on our family heritage and to years and years of wonderful family times together.
Be encouraged. When you get unwanted advice, you can smile sweetly, but don’t listen. They think they have walked the road ahead of you and are warning you about the perils along the way, but what they don’t know is that you are on a different road altogether.