Nobody said that raising children would be easy. My wife and I have to remember that quite frequently, some weeks more than others. With three children age six and under, our home certainly can be a crazy place.
This morning, I came back to the dining room table after stepping away for a bit. Lo and behold, there was a bowl of half-eaten, soggy cereal that our almost-four-year-old son had left behind. Usually, it as if he has a hollow leg and we can’t feed him enough. But sometimes, despite insisting that he wants something specific to eat, he consumes hardly any of it. And once more, we’ll say, “Why did you ask for it if you didn’t really want it?”
Then there’s my six-year-old, who seems to have inherited her father’s absentmindedness. Often in the morning, we’ll hear her cry out, “I can’t find my glasses,” because again she hasn’t put them back on the dresser like she’s supposed to. When she was younger, it was, “I can’t find Froggy,” when she didn’t keep her stuffed animal frog on her bed. Again, we’ll tell her, “If you put your stuff back in the same place, you won’t lose it.”
Last night, I had to tell my twenty-month-old not to use her toothbrush to brush our dog’s teeth. If not tonight, one day soon I’ll have to tell our son yet again not to grab a book or toy out of his younger sister’s hand. My wife will probably have to remind our oldest child again that she shouldn’t talk back to her “that way.” We’ll have to tell the youngest, “No!” and watch as she goes right on ahead and does the forbidden act anyway.
Our children are great and we love them dearly, but there are times when we wonder if anything we’re doing or saying is getting through to them. On their best days, they are so much fun. On their worst days, we wonder whether we’re actually related to them. Sometimes, it can feel like all our work is pointless, like we should just throw in the towel with all this parenting stuff.
At those points, remembering the future helps us persevere. We’ll repeat the same lesson for the umpteenth time because we know it is part of raising a functioning member of society. One day, we know, we will see with new clarity that all the hard work was worth it. By God’s grace, we’ll see that persevering through the daily grind was worth it as our children emerge as responsible adults.