My younger daughter brought home a ceramic fish that she made in art class the other day. For a 10-year-old's pinch pot fish, it looked really good. She spent a few minutes telling me all about the details of her fish. One thing she said struck me. "He's not perfect. I did that on purpose. I didn't want him to be like everyone else's."
That one statement sums up the story of this child's life. She has never wanted to be like everyone else, never wanted to follow the crowd, never felt the need to always fit in.
And that's been hard, at times, because it means she refuses to fit into the rigid box I sometimes want to put her in. I sometimes want her to be like everyone else because it would be easier for me. If she would just act like other kids, then all those parenting books and suggestions might help.
But she doesn't, which means that I have had to learn to parent her. Many times, we've had to throw out the window everything we've learned about parenting and start over. Sometimes, we have to make it up as we go along.
Because God didn't design our daughter to fit into any mold but her own, and the temptation as parents is to force her to fit into one so that it's easier for us.
The thing is, there's no parenting book that covers every child. There's no piece of advice that works with every kid. Good parenting starts with acknowledging that our kids are unique creations that don't look like anyone else. God designed them that way.
Which is why, when we're stumped on how to parent our children, we need to turn to the One who created them. We need to seek His wisdom and His truth to be effective parents. He promises to help us when we're stumped. He promises to give us wisdom when we ask. And, truly, there's no task in this world that needs more wisdom than parenting.
We have to stop trying to force our kids into a box they weren't meant to fit in and instead choose to parent each child individually. Because our kids aren't like anyone else's, and God did that on purpose.