My younger daughter finally decided on a Halloween costume yesterday. She wants to be Fozzie Bear from the Muppets. The costume is cute and age-appropriate (something difficult to find in this age of sexy teen and tween costumes), but it reminded me once again that this child, this daughter whom I love so much, is so very, very different from me.
There are days when I look at this 10-year-old child of mine, and I wonder if she really came from my gene pool. She looks nothing like me, and she thinks nothing like me. Every step she takes is marched to the beat of her own drum. And I have to tell you that as much as I love her, there are so many days that I don't understand her. I wish that for just one day, for just one hour even, I could get inside her head, so I can understand what makes her tick.
My older daughter is a lot like me in the way she thinks and the way she acts. I understand her. I understand what motivates her and what causes her pain. I understand why she gets upset and what makes her happy.
Not so with my younger daughter. So many times I'm left scratching my head wondering what is going on inside her brain and her heart.
And so, in the past 10 years, I've learned so much. I've learned that my expectations, all those dream castles I had built in the air when this younger daughter of mine was born, are the things that have to change. I've learned that while I don't always understand her, I can love her just the same. And I've learned that when we butt heads I may have as much compromising to do as she does.
Parenting a kid who is nothing like you, a kid who thinks differently, is motivated differently and has different ideas about the world, is a challenge. It's our tendency to be drawn to people who are most like us and to wonder why those who aren't can't be more like us. If you have more than one child, it's easy to begin to compare your child who is different to the others and wonder why that child can't be more like your others.
But trying to mold our kids into our own likeness or the likeness of one of our other children isn't fair. God created each one of our kids to fulfill a special purpose in His plan. He doesn't want them to be just like us because He doesn't need them to fill the same role as us. He doesn't need them to reach the same people as us. He doesn't have the same purpose for them as He has for us.
Sometimes, though, in the middle of a difficult day with our kids who don't fit the mold we imagined, we find ourselves longing for an easier task, maybe just one day where our child's drum stops beating and they can hear the beat that everyone else is marching to. But we're not called to change the beat of our child's drum. We're called to make sure that no matter what tempo they're marching to, they're marching on a path that leads to God.
Our kids aren't designed to be made in our image. They're designed in God's image, and we have to remember that. All those traits that are so different from our own are still part of God's image. They are fearfully and wonderfully made to be a reflection of Him.
So, this year, my daughter will be Fozzie Bear for Halloween. I'll smile and shake my head in wonder. And the next time my kids butt heads with me, I'll remember that those qualities that I don't understand, even the ones that drive me nuts, are gifts from God that will serve a purpose in her lives. And I'll remember that my kids don't have to live up to my expectations. They have to live up to God's.
Don't forget to enter our giveaway for a copy of Kids in the Word Be Thankful family Bible study. You can find the entry form here.