Your children are ___________.
How would you fill in that blank? Better yet; how would you like for others to fill in that blank?
Those of us who are parents (or grandparents) have probably had the experience of somebody filling in that blank for us. It may have been in the course of a conversation. It may have been in some sort of formal setting. It could be almost anywhere. It could be almost any time.
Somebody will walk up to us, drop us a note, send a text, call us on the phone, or in some way communicate to us what his or her opinion is of our children. We may have tears after that experience.
They may be tears of anger. Some inconsiderate and unfeeling person has said something to us that did not help at all. In fact, it seemed as though their only intention was to hurt.
Because I have been hurt, the tears may have been tears of pain. To be sure, the criticism that caused the hurt may have been totally justified. It still hurts when I learn that my child has done or said something that goes against everything I’ve tried to instill in him or her.
The tears may be tears of sorrow. Along with the hurt (and maybe the anger), I may feel genuine sorrow because of what my child has done or said. I may also be moved to tears for how the words, deeds, or lifestyle has affected my child. He or she may be in a situation and/or an environment that is nowhere near optimal.
Of course, there is another possibility. I could hear something about my child that brings tears of joy!
Here is where the real soul-searching begins. What could be said about your child that would cause you to shed tears of joy? What word would you put in that blank that would accomplish that?
May I suggest a few that would do that for a lot of people?
- Your children are handsome/beautiful/good looking.
- Your children are smart.
- Your children are athletic.
- Your children are popular.
- Your (adult) children are rich.
- Your (adult) children are powerful.
- Your (adult) children are well-connected.
May I suggest a word that is not on that list? May I also suggest that it takes a lot of hard work on the part of parents? May I further suggest that the reason that this is not said to more parents about more children is that far too many parents are entirely too concerned about some of the “blank fillers” I’ve already suggested?
Along with all of those suggestions, it must be acknowledged that children do not come with guarantees. All of us know godly, devoted parents who worked diligently and prayerfully to “…bring (their children) up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This is not being written as any sort of blanket indictment of parents who cannot hear the word that I have in mind.
What I am trying to suggest is that there will, indeed, be tears of anger, pain, and sorrow in every family. What I am suggesting is that those tears will not compare to the tears of joy if somebody can truthfully say –
Your children are faithful.
AUTHOR: Jim Faughn