Sunday, June 12, 2016

Raising Kids and Haircuts....

This morning I got up and had one of those "bad hair days" you always hear about. I actually have very few "good hair days" since I was born an almost bald baby, and while I did eventually grow hair, it was never like the stuff you see in those shampoo commercials.

I have battled with my hair for years, and only recently found someone who consistently manages to cover my unruly cow-licks. I have a double swirl in the back that unless my hair is cut correctly will go off in its own direction thereby making me look like I'm going back to my newborn bald days!

Well, today I was battling my cow-licks once again. (Even with a good haircut, they sometimes make their presence known.) It was then that the "Random Thought" hit me. Raising kids is a lot like dealing with hair.

The Bible tells us to train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) A lot of people think that only means teaching your children about God so that they will follow the Lord, and that is a part of the picture. I think, however, sometimes we miss a very important part of the verse..."in the way that he should go." The trick is in finding the way that he should go, as opposed to the waywe think they should go.

Children can be a lot like hair - they come with a natural "bent" that requires training, but it's also a bent that is a part of who God created them to be. Just like hair, they come in all different kinds, the trick is in not working against the way they were created, but with it.

It seems we always compare ourselves to others and try to go in the direction they should go! For example, when my son was in 6th grade, he decided he wanted his hair to be like his best friend. He wanted his hair to be board straight and long...and blond. The problem with this was, my son's hair is jet black, thick and curly. Still, he was determined to have hair like his friend. He would stand in front of the mirror for hours after shampooing his hair, trying desperately to smooth it down. The result would look okay for a little while, but as the day progressed, his hair would dry and start to revert back to its "natural bent" and puff out. He continued to smooth the top throughout the day with his hands, The results were that by the end of the day, he looked like a mushroom. Smooth on top and puffed on bottom. was quite a sight to behold. He walked around with a constant frown on his face. He became a giant frowning mushroom.

Finally in the summer between 6th and 7th, my son decided he wanted his hair cut short. Oh my - what a transformation! He looked so handsome! Gone was the constant "smoothing" and fidgeting with his hair.  He walked with new confidence and finally his smile returned. He was no longer fighting an impossible battle. He was finally becoming who he was created to be!

I am learning that with my children, I'm sometimes guilty of trying to "smooth them" into the image I see in other people's children...and they just aren't "bent" that way! I try to get their walk with the Lord to look like my own (forgetting how difficult and rocky that "walk" has sometimes been!) But they aren't me. They are unique and their walk with God will be uniquely their own. I've got to find the way to work WITH their natural gifts and help them find the way that THEY should go. As I help them grow in their own walk with the Lord, which probably won't look like my own, they will discover a faith that they can hold to for the rest of their days....and not depart from it.

I have to chuckle because as I sit here and type this, my daughter is working to straighten her own hair and she just said, "Mom, I wish I had hair like yours. This is so hard." I guess we always think someone else has an easier path to walk in this journey. (Honestly - I wish I had hair like hers and I absolutely LOVE her tight spiral curls!)

Yep, raising kids to follow God is a lot like working with hair....there will be "good days" and "bad days," but when you realize you've got just the "hair" you were meant to have, (and they were placed where they were meant to be with,) things get a lot easier. It's all about learning to work with the natural bent God intended....and sometimes wearing a hat.

*Repost from 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2016

but I want to run....

Today I went for a walk, just a walk. I started not to go at all since my knee is really giving me some problems right now and I knew a run was NOT going to happen. Still, the pull of being able to spend some time with God outside was stronger than the urge to just go on with my day, so I laced up my shoes and made my way out the door. 

I hadn't gone 100 feet when I saw a HUGE pit bull staring at me. I almost went back inside, but decided to keep going when the dog was obviously more afraid of me than I was of him - he turned and went the other direction. I made my way cautiously down the street and my mind started to process - that was the dog that lived around the corner. He was a friendly enough dog and I bet they didn't know he was out. Sure enough, as I turned the corner, I saw him in their drive. He ran again when he saw me so I made my way to his owner's door and rang the bell. Sorry for waking you on a Saturday but your dog is out. She seemed appreciative as she rubbed her eyes and turned to let her husband know he had to go round up the dog. Mission accomplished, now on with my walk.

As I meandered along, okay - I was walking at a fast enough's hard to break the old mindset of needing to cover the course as quickly as possible, I noticed all the flowers that were in bloom. I paused to take "artsy" pictures - hey, what good is a camera phone if you can't use it! As I paused to take one picture, I heard a voice saying something. I pulled out the one earphone I had in and turned to see who was talking. Another neighbor who was sitting outside enjoying the morning shouted, "Aren't they pretty!" I nodded and waved and kept moving forward, noticing some beautiful yellow roses to take pictures of. I made my way to the end of the road and turned around. As I passed the lady's house I asked, "Would you like to see the yellow roses I just took a picture of?" We both ooo'd and ahhh'd over the beauty in those flowers and then I went along my way. 

I passed another person who I've seen out walking a number of times and we waved and said good morning...then I came to my favorite yard in the neighborhood. No, no flowers in this one but a very friendly black lab that loves to "race" with me along his fence...that is when the other dog isn't there. The blond lab doesn't like me being friends with the black one. Hooray! Today the blond dog wasn't out! My friend and I "raced" up and down the fence row about 10 or 12 times and then my knee was screaming at me it was time to stop so I waved goodbye and made my way toward home. 

After a couple more blocks, my path intersected with the other neighbor who was out walking, and this time we were headed in the same direction for a few blocks so I got the chance to meet her with more than just a "Hi." Turns out she used to be a runner but now she walks and is "thankful her knees allow it." I had thought she was about my age, but after talking a bit I suspect she might be older than me though she definitely didn't look it. It came time to turn toward my house and say goodbye, but I have a feeling I'll see her again along my route this summer and hopefully will have the chance to get to know her better. She seems like a really cool person!

Finally I reached my house and as I turned off my GPS, I realized I'd traveled a pretty good distance today, even if it did take me longer than normal...that's when I thought, "but I want to run..." Running is so much more impressive than walking. People love to drop "I'm a runner" into conversations but rarely do you hear someone say "I'm a walker." Walking is just so...ordinary, or at least I used to think so. After today, I'm not so sure. Let's see, today I talked with three neighbors - helped one of them get their dog back, shared a love of flowers with another and sort of got to know I made a lot of pictures of the beauty of God that surrounds me but often goes unnoticed. I don't think I ever do those things when I least not as much.

That got me to thinking. I still covered the same ground, even though it wasn't as quickly as I'd have liked it to be. I'm that way with a lot of things in life. I want things to happen "quickly" and when they don't, I get discouraged. I tend to see obstacles as roadblocks instead of simply detours that will eventually get me where I need to be and might just contain some treasures along the journey. God's timing is never the same as mine but it's always MUCH MUCH better.

So for now, although I really WANT to be a runner, I think I'll find the joy of being a walker for a least until my knee stops screaming. I'll still get the same amount of ground covered, even if my "time" isn't as impressive as I'd like it to be, I'm moving forward and learning to enjoy the journey.

Happy walking my friends.

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?