1 year, 9 months, and 6 days ago I laid eyes on the most incredible, physical blessing God has ever given us, Bryton. I held him in my arms, and we knew each other. It was instant. Maybe it was carrying him for nine months, maybe it's mother's intuition, but I knew and loved this little boy, certainly, more than any other human being on this earth besides Aaron, and Aaron may agree at that point, even more than he. I expect that to be a trend throughout his life, and the life of our currently unborn baby.
I cannot expect anyone else to love and cherish these babies as much as I do. That would be foolishness. No, the love we feel for our own children cannot be matched. With the love comes a responsibility to grow and nurture them, to lead them physically, spiritually, and mentally down the right paths. The responsibility is heavy and burdensome. I'd say most parents struggle with this responsibility for the rest of their lives, regardless of what their children's ages.
But there's a flip in the system. Though others will never, and can never, love our children as we do, it must be assumed that it takes a village to raise a child. Try to overprotect your children and your results are children who cannot socially 'make it' in the real world.
The truth is, we all offer valuable experiences and lessons to be taught to our kids, and to the kids of other people. There is great wisdom that comes with sharing experiences and knowledge for the sake of growing other people.
I realize that though I am the one with the well being of my child most at front and center, that my child will not only be impacted by myself and my husband, but also by other influential individuals in their lives. These people could be teachers, school administrators, church members, Sunday School teachers, Pastors, youth Pastors, coaches, other family members, etc. The list goes on. And as I realize that these influential people will also be molding and shaping the spiritual, physical, and mental character of my kids, I can only pray with my whole heart that they will see my children as I do.
I pray that their motives be pure, their words be gentle, their advice be sound. I pray that their influence would be righteous and just, that they would act as I would, and would redirect their own actions knowing the impact their choices make on the lives of my children.
I pray that they would cherish them as their own.
I also pray that I would reflect the same love and care on the students we encounter in our youth ministry, leading them as I would my own children. They, and their parents, deserve that.
It seems appropriate, that as school starts, I make a plea to all of you in an influential position: Be conscious of the young minds you are influencing. Make sure your influences is righteous, and gentle, and good. Be encouraging, loving, and respectful. Make good decisions, and love covers a multitude of sins.
My prayer is that those who will influence the lives of my children will see them as we do, and that I could see the students in the youth ministry as their parents see them, precious, and desperate for God to move in their lives.