That word "privilege" may sound over-the-top, especially if you're having a bad day.
Every child starts as a newborn. A miracle.
If you don't think that's a miracle, just ask any couple with fertility challenges whether conceiving a child is routine. So many obstacles could--and often do--interfere with one sperm and one egg coming together at just the right time.
In that instant, for every human being, the codes for life are set in place. For instance:
- Male or female.
- Hair color and whether it will be curly or straight.
- Body type and eventual adult height.
- Shape and size of the hand and fingernails.
- Adult foot shape and size, as well as toe length and toenail shapes.
- An aptitude for the creative arts, for science, language or math, or for the more practical, such as building and mechanical.
- Personality type, whether calm and laid back, high-maintenance, thoughtful, moody or upbeat.
- A natural athletic ability or a preference for more quiet pursuits like reading.
All this and more are determined at conception. That's proven fact, as surely as a giant oak tree hides within an acorn.
What's more, each one is known to God. In Jeremiah 1:5 God says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you . . ."
No two alike--and that's a challenge
Any parent of more than one child quickly notices their individuality from birth. One cries more than the other. One sleeps all night early on, while the other thinks nights are party time. One wants to be cuddled, the other not so much.
One toddler climbs on every piece of furniture in the house and opens closed drawers and cupboards at least once a day. The other plays happily with toys all alone. One "talks" all the time, while the other seems a born observer. One takes every "No" as a personal challenge meant to be defied. The other hears "No!" and wilts, then finds something else to do.
It seems God designed motherhood as an equal-opportunity personal growth program.
Getting from here to there
No youngster makes it to adulthood without passing through their adolescent years. That can be a stormy time for everyone, so don't count on winning any popularity contests around home. All you can do is hang in there and keep on loving them. (And praying.)
"Love" can be misunderstood. Carol Burnett discovered that when her daughter Carrie, who died at 38, got into drugs. In a recent TV interview she told the story of those hard years.
Carol said something like this, "I was naive and thought I could be her friend. I finally realized that wasn't helpful. I had to be a parent and love my daughter enough to let her hate me. It took a long time, but eventually she conquered her addiction and we became best friends.
"Now I tell everyone, Love your kids enough to let them hate you sometimes. Be a parent."
Carol's advice on parenting applies in all stages of rearing our children. It's not a popular theory, but it makes for strong adults.
The joy of observing
Life itself is a miracle. My husband and I are aware of that because both our moms died young. They missed out on so much They missed out on most of their grandchildren, for instance.
So my friend, enjoy your days. Don't waste a moment of your life. Love the people who love you and if you're a mom, rejoice in your privilege of helping to shape human beings.
And don't forget to thank the Giver.