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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Of Giants, Stones, and Little Girls Who Bite

One of my main quests on my journey of motherhood is figuring out a way to reach the hearts of my boys. Mark and I believe that winning their hearts is the only way to ensure that we will be their first line of defence as they get older and face a world which is confusing yet alluring; we pray that we will always be one of the first voices they seek in the midst of relativism and blurred points of view. As Christians, we believe that knowing their hearts will pave the way for them to know the most important heart of all, their heavenly Father's heart.

I have been pondering a great deal about the centrality of relationships in parenting, largely due to our very feisty 3-year-old who has been a completely different kettle of fish to parent as compared with his big Kor Kor. Our spirited one who does everything with thrice the amount of energy and enthusiasm as the rest of us; whose emotions are as fickle as the weather in England; whose main struggle at the moment is expressing how he feels in words, though he is extremely capable of being verbal when he is calm and having a good day. He delights us daily with his insight, wit and fascinating explorations, and also leaves us flat out at the end of each day, having been hit by the whirlwind of emotions, words and ideas that come with the privilege of parenting him.
The energy & enthusiasm of little E!
His fears are as large as his very active imagination, and when he is able to express them, he talks of soldiers with swords, scary monsters in the darkness, and bad men coming to take him away. All that most people see, though, at these points of insecurity, are a small but furious little fellow with a big temper and angry words to go with it.

As parents, we often make the illogical leap from Point A (He/ She is my child) to Point B (I of course would know everything about him/ her.) If we think really hard about it, parenting is just like any other relationship. Just because they are our own doesn't mean anything, really, at the start. In any relationship, be it a courtship or marriage or a business relationship, getting to know the other person takes time and effort. 

When a baby is born, it takes a while for the parents to begin to discern its different cries for hunger, a wet diaper, or just to be picked up. We spend a lot of time listening out for their cries and trying to read the meanings behind their behaviour. Yet we forget when the kids become "tantruming" toddlers and whiny preschoolers, or angsty adolescents, to continue to listen out for the cries of their hearts and the meanings behind the words that they say.
The only way to get to know our children is to spend time with them; to
play with them; to laugh with them; to cry with them. It's when we journey through
life's ups and downs - that's when we truly get to know them.
I was telling Mark at dinner one night that I still felt I had not truly gotten a grasp of how to parent our little E, having only been acquainted with him for 3 years (the length of time he's been on this earth), and that I was praying for insight into his little heart. I want to know what makes him respond the way that he does, and I want to see these things from a divine perspective rather than that of a human onlooker who might come to a very different conclusion when viewing his feistiness of character and tendency to dig in his heels no matter what the circumstance. I prayed that we might find a way to be that bedrock for him amidst the many insecurities and fears which others might not see, hidden beneath his bravado and seemingly confident exterior.

Our spirited one often chooses to jump barefooted into whatever activities he chooses.
But sometimes what we see is not always what is deep inside...
God somehow provided a way in, when after dinner at the playground that evening, our little one came running up to me and said, "Mummy, I'm scared. Jesus will protect me from the scary monsters in the darkness?" 

"Yes, He will, E."

Another round up and down the slides, and back again. 

"And God will protect me from the soldiers with swords? And the bad men who will come and take me away?"

"Yes, E. He promises to keep you safe."

Another round, and he doubles back and asks, "How about the small girls who bite?"

We all burst into laughter. E's fears are assuaged and he runs back to join his brother in play. While we ponder in amusement at his final question, on a more serious note, I have been reminded that the way to get to his heart is to show him the heart of a Father who loves and protects him.
Our spirited son always enjoys a good story - especially when he can spice it up
with lots of embellishments! 
At bedtime, when I go into his room to give him his milk, he says, "Mummy, will you pray for me? That Jesus will protect me from the monsters and enormous giants?" I do. He asks for his favourite Bible story at the moment, that of the young shepherd boy David who fights lions and bears, and finally his biggest enemy of all, the giant Goliath, whom he takes down with a single pebble from his sling.

E peppers the story with his own commentary, adding in details from the Bible stories which Mark tells the boys every night. "David was a brave boy, Mummy. God protected David from the bad enormous giant," he declares with gusto, before we end the night with the all-time favourite Sunday School song about David. "... And the giant came tumbling down!"

E beams in the darkness and lies down, happy and assured. I know I still have a long way towards knowing and understanding his little heart, but thank God that the battle is not mine to fight, for the battle for his heart belongs to our God - and it's not mine to win, because it's already been won by a Mighty God.

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