Children can try the patience of Job. I watched one day as a young mother lifted her screaming little daughter (by one arm) out of the family car in front of a store. I couldn’t tell what the child was crying about, but the mother said to an older woman, who was likely her mother, “Will she ever grow out of that stage?” It was all I could do to keep from saying, “Yes, and before you realize it!” But I didn’t intrude.
While parents are right in the middle of bringing up their little ones, it seems to them that it will be an eternity before they reach the place where they won’t be such a “bother” and a worry anymore. Small children even at times will test the strength of a seemingly strong marriage; and appear to “get in the way” of success and progress.
A story from Reader’s Digest, written by Robert W. Wells, of which I give only the first three paragraphs, is a beautiful and wonderful article. I hope every parent will read it slowly, digest it fully, and be impressed forever:
“To an adult, a tree is a tree, a cloud passing before the moon is only a cloud like those that have gone before. But a child is not like that. Things happen for the first time to him.”
“I remember a July day when John was four. We had left the Manhattan apartment where we lived then and were spending the weekend in a small town. After dinner, my wife, the boy, and I went for a walk. We came to an open field with a stand of oaks behind it. John had been holding my hand, but now he slipped free. He stood quietly for a moment, this big-city boy, surveying the largest expanse of earth he had ever seen that was entirely devoid of people. And then he was off, running hard.”
“I can still close my eyes and picture him, this child whom I shall never see again, although he still lives concealed in a tall youth who has his name. Across the grass in the dying sunlight he ran, short legs pumping, under the trees, up a hill, then swooping back toward us, head erect, eyes half-closed. In spirit I was running with him, feeling the things he felt, and I was suddenly aware that the child who had loosed my hand and left me would never return, that in a brief instant of time his babyhood had ended and his boyhood begun. I could feel time ticking away.”
Oh, mother! Oh, dad! Seize every moment you can lay hold on in order to have some time with your children while they’re so young, so tender, and so innocent. Relish some precious periods of play and lightheartedness with them. But, more importantly, show them by a good example what being a faithful Christian means. Prove to them that nothing is more important to you than the Lord and His church by putting Him first every day. Let spiritual matters take precedence in your thoughts, be first in your financial budget, have supremacy in your time, and take priority in all your activities (Matthew 6:33). In becoming parents, accept this most serious responsibility. “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3).
Quick! Parents, while the clay is soft, pliant, and easily molded, hasten to the task! Don’t wait another moment because later will be too late.
“And, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Time is ticking away!