“After creating the heavens, the earth, the oceans, and the entire animal kingdom, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said to them was “Don’t.” To the animals, he never said, “Don’t” – he hurled no negatives at the elephant – but to the brightest of his creatures, the ones who get into Yale, he said, “Don’t.”
“Don’t what?” Adam replied.
“Don’t eat the forbidden fruit.”
“Forbidden fruit? Really? Where is it?”
“It’s over there,” said God, wondering why he hadn’t stopped after making the elephants.
A few minutes later, God saw the kids having an apple break and he was angry.
“Didn’t I tell you not to eat that fruit?” the First Parent said.
“Uh-huh,” Adam replied.
“Then why did you?”
“I don’t know,” Adam said.
“All right then, get out of here! Go forth, become fruitful, and multiply!”
This was not a blessing but a curse! God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own!
This is funny stuff! And, little does Mr. Cosby know, but it literally changed my worldview. No, I do not really think that having children is a curse. But I think that God gave us the opportunity to raise children in order that we may better understand how He (or She, if you prefer) relates to us.
Most parents will quickly tell you that there is no greater love than that which a parent has for a child. It’s all-encompassing. It’s overwhelming. It’s wonderful and horrible. It’s the best feeling in the world and it hurts very much. You want EVERYTHING for this little person (or big, as the years go by). You want them to be strong and smart and healthy and kind. And you do your best each day to provide them with the tools to do that, regardless of the cost to yourself. Mom’s wearing patched up 10-year-old jeans? Who cares? Look how happy that new toy makes the baby! Dad is exhausted from being on his feet at work all day? No matter! He’s as excited about working on that science project as Junior is.
And then your kids do the STUPIDEST things. You GAVE HIM knee pads. So, “Why?” You are asking yourself, “are we sitting in the emergency room getting his knee stitched back together?”
You told her not to leave her DSi on the front porch. So, “Why?” You are asking yourself, “is she mad at ME for not bringing it inside before it rained last night?”
You taught them, over and over and over again, that they need to keep their hands to themselves. So, “Why?” You are asking yourself, “am I listening to the neighbor kid’s mother yell about my son hitting hers?”
I was in the car once and there was some morning talk show on that I don’t usually listen to. During the broadcast a woman made a comment to this effect: Parenthood is a constant contradiction. You can be driving down the road and you look in the mirror and see your children, and your love for them is absolutely overwhelming. It spills forth from your heart until you can barely contain it. You have never loved anything so very much. Ten minutes later you find yourself screaming, “I-SWEAR-TO-GOD-IF-YOU-DON’T-STOP-IT-RIGHT-NOW-I-WILL-PULL-OVER-AT-THE-NEXT-GAS-STATION-WE-COME-TO-AND-I-WILL-LEAVE-YOU-THERE-AND-I-WILL-NOT-COME-BACK-TO-GET-YOU. EVER!” And, at the time you are saying it, you actually mean it.
So, what does all that have to do with God? Well… think of the Creator as a parent. He gave life to these people. He knows better than they do what is good and bad, right and wrong. He’s been around a long time. So he gives us guidelines: Do not commit adultery. Do not murder. Do not covet. Honor your mother and father. Take a day off every so often.
Do we, the children, listen to that advice? Of course not! We run around, using our bodies for gratification apart from emotional commitment. We kill one another – in random acts of violence, in war, out of convenience. We want EVERYTHING. And we want it RIGHT NOW! We fail to take time to attend to the serious business of enjoying life and the people in it.
And then we get sick and we have our feelings hurt and we lose loved ones and we lack satisfaction and contentment and then what do we do?
We get mad at God, of course. WHY didn’t God hear my prayer? WHY didn’t God save me from… whatever.
Do you always save your children from every consequence? Of course not! Sometimes, the only way children are going to learn is by failing. And often that failure is painful for them to endure and horrible for you to watch. But you allow it. Not because you want them to hurt or because you don’t care that they are hurting, but because you love them.
It is important that we take a moment (or more) each day to consider the wisdom given to us from our Creator. Read the scriptures. Pray. Meditate. Breathe. Be in touch with the One who loves you in an all-encompassing, overwhelming, unending, limitless way. Seek direction and guidance. Ask for help, fixing the mistakes of the past and moving beyond them. Give thanks for the future, and the promise that it holds. And then hold what you learn close to your heart – in just the same manner that you hope your children will hold your words close to their hearts.
Oh – and one last thought: Doesn’t it just make you INSANE when you do something special for your kids and they take it for granted? Or worse… when they complain that it wasn’t special enough? I bet God feels exactly that way far too frequently. Don’t forget to be grateful. Even on the worst of days there is much to be thankful for!
I’m curious. How has being a parent changed the way that you view the world? How has your relationship with your creator changed the way that you parent?