I know that’s an awful thought – and I pray God that all the children of every person reading this sentence outlive us by decades, and that we, too, live to a ripe old age. But life is but a mist and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring (Psalm 39.5, Psalm 144.4, James 4.14). So…what if?
You would surely want your child to know in his dying breath that he has been loved unconditionally by you. Or you’d want her to rest in the knowledge of your unfailing love as she received the news of your passing. And the only way to guarantee that outcome in death is to live it.
I’ve interacted with too many parents who feel it’s their job to “toughen up” their kids. I even once met a dad who questioned my decision to homeschool, believing I was depriving my children the “opportunity” to be bullied. We all know that our fallen world is messed up and that our kids will inevitably experience pain and loss “out there.” But, rather than mimic the cruelty of the world, wouldn’t it be better to maintain home – the arms of mom and dad – as their soft place to land?
That’s not to say we shouldn’t provide discipline and discipling as they grow and mature; indeed, setting logical boundaries and holding to them with consistency is one of our main parental responsibilities. And, in fact, doing so provides security for kids that enables them to know they are loved. But the manner in which we do so makes all the difference.
We can yell or we can coach. We can scold or we can guide. We can accuse or listen. We can presume the worst or seek redemption. We can tear down or build up. We can bemoan the child we don’t have or accept the one we do. We can offer malice or mercy.
We will not be perfect, of course. We will have moments when we scream at our kids. In our fallenness, we will make unfounded accusations. But if the overall “tone” we set within our homes is one of grace, our children will forgive our lapses – indeed, they’ll most likely forget them – and they’ll know they can trust and rely on their parents to speak truth in love.
You will never have this day with your children again;
tomorrow they’ll be a little bit older than they are today.
Today is a gift. Breathe and notice. Smell and hold them,
study their faces and little feet, and pay attention.
Enjoy today; it will be over before you know it.
Relish the charms of the present.
~ Author Unknown