A younger mom asked me the other day, ‘What’s your top parenting tip?’
I said, ‘If our kids don’t obey first time, we burn them with cigarettes.’
I said, ‘Prayer and consistency.’
Because sometimes there’s a moment when I realize my kids are enormous and I can’t believe they once fitted inside my body and now they’ve fleshed out a whole lot of the future that back then was shapeless, and really, it’s all the mercy of God, and putting one foot in front of the other.
There’s still a lot of future left to live, and it’s anybody’s guess how things will go down, but after almost eleven years of being a mom, I’m certain parenting is about what Louie Giglio calls taking the stairs.
And taking the stairs looks like prayer and consistency.
There’s no magic elevator to the top and ta-da! Your kids are perfect!
Parenting is taking the stairs and the stairs are slow. The stairs are steep and lonely. But it’s in the stairwell that you can get quiet with God. You can also get honest about the alarming fact that you’re not even sure if you’re between floors 3 and 4? Or 7 and 8? (How long have we been climbing?) (Are we getting fitter?) (Are our kids getting better?) (Are we making any progress at all?)
Taking the stairs means settling into the one-stair-at-a-time rhythm of showing up day after day and not going crazy and deciding to keep on saying kindly and calmly pick up your stuff, change your tone, don’t wave your cutlery in the air – because it takes a lot of stairs to learn that stuff and if we don’t walk it out with them, who will?
It’s saying to your kid and mostly to yourself, ‘I know you’ve got it in you – just today – to climb one more stair.’
Taking the stairs is praying for the small steps – Please let swimming not get cancelled again – and the heart steps – Help him stand straight with a strong spine and a clear mind in the face of the mean child – and the destiny steps – Make a way for tertiary education options and marriage partners. It’s asking with a desperate dependence on God’s wisdom and it’s asking in humility because tripping on the stairs is always preceded by arrogantly thinking you’re crushing it.
Our eldest has started violin lessons. We made sure he understood that after one lesson he wouldn’t be able to play Paganini Caprice No. 24. His teacher only allowed him to pick up his bow after three lessons. Before that it was just violin anatomy and finger strengthening and aural training.
He’s taking the stairs.
He also needs to understand (as do our neighbours) that he might never be a brilliant violinist. He might really be incredibly average.
But I hope he learns to be a brilliant version of himself by taking those stairs –
. . .
Happy weekend to you!
Please share this post with a friend on the stairs.
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