Lost in Translation

Welcome! Click the play arrow inside the “chatterbox,” (or click on the audio file if you subscribe and receive the post via Email), to hear the squirrel chatter. (Actually, it’s just Amy J. reading her blog to you.)

 

I love the honesty of children, although their candor can often sting.  I love how they are not inhibited or intimidated.  If they want to cry, they cry.  If they want to jump, they jump.  If they want to sing, they sing.

One evening when my own children were little, I was fixing frozen peas for dinner.  My little boy began to sing, “I’ve got peas like a river.  I’ve got peas like a river.”

“Buddy,” I interrupted, “I think you have it mixed up.  It’s “I’ve got peace like a river.”  I was quickly informed I was the one in the wrong, as he was quite adamant he was indeed singing the song the way it had been written.  I also have video of this same little boy marching and singing his heart out to a different song.  He sings, quite passionately, “I may never ride in the calorie, but I’m in the Lord’s army, YES SIR!”

While these innocent mistakes may make us chuckle, they serve as a serious reminder.  This rising generation is constantly watching, listening, observing, and following our lead, and sometimes they aren’t understanding what we are saying.  Speaking from experience, it’s one thing when your children are little and you see them watching your every move.  It is a totally different experience with teenage children, and you realize they are still watching and evaluating everything you do and say. But now, they are also making moral judgments.

Parenting is hard work, isn’t it?  And even with intentional and deliberate guidance, I am amazed how some attempts to instill values get lost in translation. Parenting is the best, most time consuming, most challenging job I have ever undertaken.  I don’t always feel equipped to handle what is thrown at me in life as a parent.  Example:  “Mrs. Jagger, we just told your fifteen year old she is paralyzed from the waist down for life. You can go talk to her now.”

Ummmm . . . that scenario wasn’t in my plan or in my parenting prep work.

I also find that not only are we as parents thrown into some unimaginable circumstances, but we as parents are always bucking against our own selfish natures.  When my kids were little I just wanted to sit down and read a book, but there was constant chatter in my ear.  I wanted to stay out past 8 p.m., but it wasn’t healthy for my children to be out late and lose sleep.  I wanted to talk on the phone with a friend, yet I knew it was far more important for me to read or play a game with my children.  Being a parent constantly smacked against my selfish desires and forced me to choose.

Now the children are older, and oh, how it all has changed.  I’m trying, begging, my teenage son to “chatter” and share a few things about his life.  Now, I am the one with an early bedtime.  And it’s been years since they last sat upon my lap and asked me to read a book.

I think one of the best things I see with my children is when I see other adults pouring into their lives.  This is a tricky concept, Dear Reader. One, I have to be willing to give up some of my influence and allow other adults to assume some of the tasks I thought should be mine.  Two, I have to be absolutely certain the other adults who are pouring into my kids are pouring in the values, morals, and standards I want poured.  And I’m not talking just about family.  My mom is a great gal, and yes, she pours into my kids, but my kids see and hear her saying and doing most of the same things they see me saying and doing, which is what they expect.  Of course family is going to try to instill the same beliefs.  There comes a point when children look outside of their family to see if anyone else out there in this big world believes what their family believes.  When they look, will we as parents allow them to look?  Will there be any other adults worth finding?

My daughter is currently training to enter a para swimming competition.  She spends multiple hours a week with her coach, a former teaching colleague of mine.  Alissa looks at Liz and sees someone who works hard.  Alissa looks at Liz and sees someone who is responsible and dependable.  Alissa looks at Liz and sees a wife and mother who has done her best to live for the Lord her entire life.  Liz and I could model and say the exact same things, but coming from Liz it’s the gospel; coming from me, it’s sometimes just a nice suggestion.

Roots and wings.  Roots and wings.  Parenting and helping children plant deep, solid roots and then giving them wings — it’s okay to let other great, trusted adults outside of my family pour into my kids.  May we all be on the lookout, whether we are the parent or whether we are the “other adult.”  The next generation is counting on us.

Until next Wednesday, Lord willing, when I reveal the choice of the sticky note birthday gift. Thanks for reading!