KIDS: When to protect? When to empower?

The other night Cam sprayed himself with bug repellent he found in the bathroom.

The mosquitoes kept up their …zzz …zzz round his ears. Plus, he smelt odd.

In the morning he still smelt odd. I suggested a shower.

‘Which mozzie spray did you use?’ I asked.

‘This one,’ he said, showing me the Room & Linen Scent.

We had a laugh.

Then I walked to the kitchen and threw it away so he couldn’t possibly repeat the mistake and so my heart wouldn’t have to slightly-break in that place ever again because it’s not a big deal once but it’s a big deal when dozens of small humiliations rack up in the life of a visually impaired tween and WHY CAN’T THEY JUST MAKE THE WRITING BIGGER?

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Later that day Scott walked off the cricket pitch sobbing the hot tears of a wicket-keeper who hasn’t stumped anyone out. So I silently began plotting ways to convince him to switch to swimming next term because swimming equals Fewer Tears and surely that equals Winning At Life? 

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I’m a writer. I get paid to seize reality’s ethereal truths and cast them in word-concrete. So it’s hard for me not to edit and punctuate every story my kids live.

Which is why this, from Scott Sauls, struck up a bit of a soul symphony in me –

‘Regarding those we love the most, people like me need to remember that we are terrible authors of other people’s stories. Only God is able to be the author and perfecter of their unique stories and their unique faith. He, not I, will complete the good work He has begun in them. And He will do this in His way, in His time, and through His chosen process for them. Their lives are in His hands, not mine. It is His sovereign care over the details and chapters of their stories that will get them where they need to be.

Their story is not mine to write.

It never has been.

I’m nervous about that, but I must surrender to it. It is hard for a controlling Type A to surrender anything, especially the author rights to his own children’s stories.

And yet, if their stories were to unfold in unexpected ways—having dreams go unfulfilled, experiencing loss, getting their hearts broken, enduring a spiritual crisis—hope would not be lost because God would still be in control of things. And it is always better for God to be in control of things than it is for us to be in control of things.’

We need to do everything we can to write our own stories well and we’d be lousy parents if we didn’t protect our kids. But we’d be lousier parents if we didn’t also empower them by not always sanitizing or shrink-wrapping every experience, disallowing pain from doing its excellent, stretching work.

Also, a good story doesn’t evolve along the humdrum plod of ‘And then… And then… And then…’

A page-turner keeps you reading with twists of ‘However… Therefore… But… Yet…’ God forbid we or our kids should ever be boring, unwilling to submit ourselves and our stories to the Author and Perfecter of world-changing faith.

. . .

It’s the weekend! Have a good one. I’m still praying for you.

Please share this post with parents you love!

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