Are You A ‘What-If’ Parent? I Am, But Now How You Think. 

A day will come when the sounds of children playing won’t echo through the house. A day when video games won’t rule the screens and cheers of victory won’t be heard from the other room. A day when the raucous laughter of overly energetic young boys will be but a distant memory.

In the future, one that’s closer than I care to realize I won’t need to go break up a fight between my sons. I won’t need to give time-outs, lectures, and take away privileges and toys as a result of bad behavior. On that day I’d like to think that I will rejoice and be glad in the quietness. 

But. I have a feeling that on that day the quiet house will be filled with the noise of ‘what-ifs’. What if I had tried a little harder, what if I had been a little more patient, what if I had taken some more time to sit down with them and play, what if I hadn’t turned everything into such a big deal, what if I taken advantage of a few more of those learning opportunities that everyone talks about. 

I know that I’ll do this, because I do it now. The kids fight and scream and kick and tease and hit and disobey all day long and I react with threats and time-outs and taking things away and yelling and…. the list goes on. 

Here’s a different what if, what if we parents weren’t so obsessed with making perfect little listeners and instead we let them be kids, our kids. What if we gave them the same lenience we gave ourselves, what if we realized that they too are sinners born into a broken world, just like us. What if we admitted to being overbearing sometimes, being too picky about what they say or don’t say, being overly critical and judgmental about the things they do… what if? 

What if we took all those expectations we place on our kids and use them as a filter of self reflection? Would we pass the test of perfection we place on our kids? Would we be as good as we want them to be? 

Here’s a thought, instead of asking for more patience with your kids when you pray tonight, ask for a more playful spirit to enjoy your kids more. Don’t ask that your kids will somehow become little saints who give up their toys for each other, ask for the wisdom required to be able to teach them how to share. 

Maybe we’ve been expecting too much and asking for the wrong things, what’s that old proverb, maybe they’re not answering correctly because we aren’t asking the right questions? Or something like that. Anyway, my point is, kids are kids and the day will come when we miss their presence, we will miss being the referee that breaks up the fights, the maid that cleans up after them and the teacher that teaches them. We will miss this, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. 

In closing, ah forget the closing, I’m gonna go play legos with my boys, and then maybe have a nap. 

Thanks for reading.

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