Friday, December 21, 2007

What kind of kids are you growing?

Stephen and I will be co-teaching a class with two other couples at our church this January called Growing Kids God's Way. We have taken the class twice and were so blessed by what we learned. When the opportunity to teach came about, we jumped at the chance. We are so excited to be able to share our experiences and what we have learned about parenting with others. We, by no means, feel like we have it all together. But we have been blessed by this material, and we feel like we have a responsibility to share our blessings with others.

Anyway, the last time we took the class, my friend Bonnie shared this story with us and I was thinking about it today. It has new meaning to me, especially as I am getting ready to homeschool. Also, today, I have been dealing with the "uniqueness" of my children in a not so pleasant way ;) I wanted to share this story with you, and I hope it blesses you as you seek to raise your kids in the image of God.

Gifts from God
by Max Lucado

A gardener gave a seedling to his friend, the orange grower. "Consider this a gift."

An orchestra conductor presented a package to her favorite cellist. "Just because I appreciate your work," she told her.

An artist thanked a plumber for his neighborliness by giving him a present.

And so the orange grower, the cellist, and the plumber unwrapped their gifts.

The orange grower planted the seedling, anticipating oranges. After all, he grew oranges, so this must be an orange-tree-to-be. But the plant spread into bushy, clustered branches. The orange grower couldn't coax a single orange out of his grove. He sprinkled it with orange-tree fertilizer, sprayed it with orange tree bug spray. He even poured orange juice on the soil. But, alas, no oranges. Tomatoes, yes. But oranges, no. He felt like a failure.

The cellist empathized. She had expected a cello. She was somewhat correct. The package contained an accordion. She treated the accordion like a cello, setting the base on the floor and running her bow across the keys. Noise came forth, but no music. She was less than enthused.

As was the plumber. He expected a gift of wrenches and hammers, but he was given a brush and palette. Puzzled, he set out to repair a leaky pipe with his new tools. But brushes don't open valves, and a palette won't tighten joints. He painted the plumbing and grumbled.

The orange grower raised tomatoes, but he preferred oranges. The cellist made sounds, but not music. The plumber painted the pipe, but didn't fix it.

Each assumed the gift would be what they knew rather than what the giver gave.

Each year God gives millions of parents a gift, a brand new baby. They tend to expect oranges, cellos, and plumbing tools. Heaven tends to distribute tomatoes, accordions, and paint supplies. Moms and Dads face a decision. Make our children in our image? Or release our children to follow their God-given identities?

God prewired your infant. He scripted your toddlers strengths. He set your teen on a trajectory. God gave you an eighteen year research project. Ask yourself, your spouse, and your friends: what sets this child apart? Childhood tendencies forecast adult abilities. Attend carefully to the unique childhood of your child. Uncommon are the parents who attempt to learn--and blessed are their children.

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