When preparing for the birth of our first child my wife and I (just like all parents) were filled with wild anticipation.
We could not wait for the little bundle of joy to be placed in our arms.
We waited anxiously for him to arrive so we could begin to raise this little gift from God. We went through that book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” We read lots of articles online and heard many stories from parents who have gone on before us.
As a father-in-waiting I had all kinds of ideas for what I wanted to begin teaching my son once he was delivered into my life.
He would need to know the excitement of superheroes.
I needed to share he wonder of books like the Lord of the Rings.
I just knew we would sit and experience the adventure of movies like The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
You know, man stuff.
I could not wait to begin quoting our favorite lines from all our favorite medias back and forth.
I was excited to take him fishing and camping. I wanted to impart knowledge onto him.
I wanted to spend time teaching him about God and His love for us.
But do you know what that tiny human wanted to do all day from the moment we saw him?
He was actually a fantastic sleeer. He’d sleep for about four hours, eat, be up for a bit and then sleep again.
Even when he was not sleeping he would keep his eyes closed, especially if there was anyone around who wanted to see his blue eyes.
For a while he would scream every night between 7-8, but other than that he was fairly calm.
He did not show any interest in any of the things I wanted to share with him. He would just lay there. I’d try to get his attention but he wouldn’t even turn his head to look.
When he did start noticing things he was more interested in brightly colored, crinkle toys than he was anything actually cool. It was frustrating that my kid was interested in all these lame toys.
Fast forward to today. My now seven year old is a completely different person. We just built an X-wing Lego model together. It was awesome and he was so excited.
The boy will fish for hours. We go out to my grandparents and he will sit or stand quietly with me and fish until we say it is time to go.
He quotes his favorite lines from movies and tv shows, and he gets excited when a new Star Wars trailer drops.
It can be frustrating as parents when we have an idea in our head of the person we have imagined our children to be and it does not match with who they really are. As people, though, they are constantly changing.
We need to remember that even our past selves are only shadows of who we are today.
Our interests change. Our attitudes change.
It is no different with our children.
And it is good.
This may mean that my oldest son may lose interest in some of the things he loves right now. The thought of that makes me sad, and a bit anxious.
But if my wife and I keep instilling in him the things in life which are really important then he will continue to grow into a man we will be proud of.
This means I need to be living my life in a way I want my son to be living. The principles I pass on through my consistent words and actions will be passed on to him, even if the carrying out of those principles looks a little different.
Don’t beat yourself up too much if your child is not who you think they should be right now or who you imagined they would be.
Love them. Show them the love of God. Teach them to pursue Him in your words and actions.
Do that faithfully day after day.
Their interests may not mirror yours.
But their attitudes and actions are much more likely to fall in line with yours.
Don’t forget to pray.
This parenting thing is a scary big responsibility and we can use all the help we can get.