Today, I am sitting on my back patio, enjoying some nice fall weather, finally. The kids are enjoying being outside, enjoying the cooler weather, as well. As I look around the yard and at the trees, and we have lots of trees… each one is different. Some have lost most of their leaves, most are still very green (yes… I live in the south and it’s still in the 70s in November). Some are changing colors, some are not, yet. Each one in their own time.
Then I watch my kids play. Each of them are similar in some ways, but each has a very distinct personality and set of interests. What is hard, sometimes, as a dad, is to want my kids to be the same as all of their friends. Actually, I think most of us parents, at least on some level, want our kids to be better than their friends. It’s o.k. You can admit it. It is just part of being a parent and being proud of our kids. But, each kid is different. Each kid is going to be good at some things and not so good at others. As I watch my kids grow and I see their interests change, it is sometimes frustrating as a parent because I want them to be interested in and good at something else. It is hard looking around at all the other trees that have lost their leaves and wonder when mine will catch up and start losing their leaves. After all, I don’t want my trees to be the odd ones, especially in the spring, when everyones trees have leaves except mine.
As a parent, I try to find what my kids are gifted at, what they are really good at, and encourage them in that direction. What is hard is when they have no interest in going that direction. I know that each of us, kids and grown ups, have been given a gift by God. Each of us has something that we need to be doing. Maybe it’s being a great athlete, or artist. Maybe it is a dancer or a singer. Or maybe it is working in construction or medicine. Maybe it is being a great mom and juggling all the duties of running and managing a successful household. Whatever it is, each of us has something we have a passion for doing. That “gift of God” may not be a “skill”, but instead a strong desire or passion for something that we have absolutely no natural talent for.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in
everyone it is the same God at work.
1 Corinthians 12: 4-6
So, as my kids grow, I spend a lot of time praying for them and for me, that I will help them find what it is God has called them to be. I want them to be the great, stand out athletes and artists. But what I really want is for them to be the best “them” that they can be and find what it is they are passionate about. What has God called them to do? Each tree is different. Each matures and changes in their own time. No matter how hard I try, I cannot change that. God puts those dreams in each of us and in each of our kids. My job is to encourage, educate, and stay out of the way. God is the one that makes the seeds grow and causes the trees to change in their own time. Sometimes the hardest thing to do as a parent is to do nothing.
There is a balance in there somewhere. If you find it, please let me know. As you live your life every day, what is it that gets you going? What has God called you to be? What are you passionate about?