May the Lord give you increase, you and your children. ~ Psalm 115:14
My son Michael, at about age seven, promised to clean up the toys by himself if his friend could play a little longer. I agreed he could put away the toys after his friend left.
A few hours later I checked on things and scolded him for not cleaning up. He looked at me with his big blue eyes and said, “But after isn’t over.”
I recalled those words over the years as I realized after is never over for parents. I’ve spoken to parents around the globe, most recently in China. My children who are parents often speak to me and post on their social networks about their children. They share their joys, concerns, and fears. Once we become a parent it’s for life and our children forever hold a special place in our hearts and minds.
We do all we can to guide them, help them learn, and develop their talents. We cringe at some of their mistakes, laugh at some of the antics, and sigh with relief at the moments they make us proud or arrive home safely. We also cry and pray for them when they hurt, make poor life choices, and face unexpected difficulties or tragedies.
What pulls us through and helps us persist? Sometimes it’s the life scrapbooks. These are not fancy albums or digital photo collections. These are the memories in our minds that we replay. We keep these close to our heart and store away images of our child handing us a tight fistful of dandelions, smiles after mastering riding a bicycle, walking an aisle in cap and gown, and many more. They give us hope for tomorrow and remind us that we love them unconditionally.
Dear God, you are our ever-loving Father. Guide us in parenting our children with love and persistence.