Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kids are a Mystery Bag

I am trying desperately not to label my kids as "one angel, one devil," but so far the evidence is not helping. Any of you out there that have older daughters and younger sons may relate: the girl is flourishing in school and is generally responsive to our instruction, the boy is dark and stormy and prone to outbursts and defiance. On a spiritual level, Jada soaks up Sunday School lessons, says she believes in Jesus, and takes seriously my exhortation to "be ready when God says it's time to do work," while Aaron reacts angrily to our correction, refusing to accept that it's not right to lie and it's not good to hit.

Kids are somewhat of an unknown quantity, aren't they? Our situation is, I think, particularly so. For one, our kids are not our own biologically, so there's less of that sameness and connection. For another, imagine this if you are a parent: you did not carry that child in your womb for nine months (or dote on your wife for that long while she did), and you did not get to even see or touch that child until several months into their life. We've had a lot of time to catch up on knowing and influencing our kids since then, but any of you who are parents will hopefully appreciate that those early months of non-contact are significant.

Ultimately, whether our kids are brought into our lives through pregnancy or adoption, we who are God-fearing believe that we are given a responsibility to protect, provide, and nurture, but ultimately it is God who determines their life trajectory. It is a weighty responsibility and a harrowing ride, isn't it?

To use an analogy from the Bible, we don't know what kind of soil our kids' hearts are, whether they will fizzle out, be lured away, or grow up and bear abundant fruit. Let's do our best to cultivate and seed that soil, parents, and let's be in prayer for God to make them grow.
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