Kids can be so delightfully funny, insightful, loving, caring, compassionate, and innocent. Other times they can be so far from delightful that you wonder why you had them in the first place. Amidst the tantrums, potty training, moving, teething, fighting, arguing, complaining, and disobeying I was not finding much to delight in this past spring. I’ve had to determine to search for ways to delight in my children.
In Success – It’s easy to be proud of my child’s success, but I wondered if I truly told them enough how proud I was of them. I need to tell them in specific terms what they have done that makes me proud. And I need to praise more than their outward deeds. I need to look for ways that I’ve seen them have success in their attitudes or in their character. I want to celebrate their accomplishments.
In Mistakes – How do you find delight in mistakes? Rather than look at the mistakes my kids make as something that they are doing wrong, I’m going to view them as teachable moments. I want them to make mistakes and learn from them. I’m called to be their teacher. And when they start to really drive me crazy with their crazy though process and multiple mistakes, I’ll remember the words of my uncle who often told his kids to, “act their age.” It was his way of reminding himself that their behavior and mistakes were normal. It’s part of growing and maturing. Mistakes give rise to some of the greatest teaching moments or opportunities for object lessons.
In Independence – My goal is to raise independent and responsible kids. I can take delight in every small step that my kids take toward developing personal responsibility and independence. The stages that they are in will not last forever. One day they will no longer need me to tie their shoes, wipe their noses, remind them to brush their teeth, or buckle them in the car. I can delight in their dependence now, knowing that independence is coming. I can also find joy in teaching them what it means to be responsible and learn to do things for themselves. And as I see them make right choices in their behavior, manners, and character I’ll know that they’re walking one step closer toward becoming the person God created them to be.
In Relationship – I get to spend lots and lots of time with my little people. This gives me a chance to develop a deep relationship with them. I can find delight that they come to me to help them solve their problems, chase away scary shadows at night, or talk about how their sibling hurt their feelings. They trust me above anyone to show them how to handle their problems and how to deal with others. Even though they often need me at the most inopportune times, I can put aside what I’m doing to continue to cultivate that relationship during our sweet little heart-to-hearts. They are my children now but one day they will become more than just my children, they will also be my friends. I plan to start investing in that relationship right now.
In Discipleship – One of the highest privileges we have as parents is the opportunity to disciple our kids. We point them to Jesus. When they make mistakes, when they are afraid, when they are hurt, when they are sad, we can show them how to approach Christ and share their hearts. I can find delight that even though my days are filled with dirty diapers, dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and a dirty house, I am right where God has placed me. My job has eternal worth.