Life with Littles can be exhilarating and exhausting!
Parents need a plan for living successfully with these tiny humans!
Our plan has had three parts:
When Littles Are Loud, Part 2: we focused on SCHEDULING your Toddler/Preschooler’s Day to help your little THRIVE and to restore some sanity to your family! The recommended activities should even reduce the tugging on your leg by that tiny little sweetheart!
In this final post, Part 3, of When Littles Are Loud, we will face the reality that these small humans are IMITATING US. Yikes! Quick warning, here: It might get just a little uncomfortable as we examine….hmm how shall I say this…. your HEART. In fact, I’m going to tell you that IF you’re a big mess on the inside (which most of us are), there’s very slim possibility that you can hide that fact from your little person for much longer. That toddling little tike is going to turn into a talking two-year-old and, in a blink, your offspring will have become a little kid. There’s something you should know about kids – they can see the real you. Their little eyes peer right through your mask and see your heart.
Hang on, now. Don’t leave the conversation just because it suddenly stopped being a lighthearted chat. Give me a minute of your time, it might not be that bad. You may even be glad you stayed…
So, how many small people live at your house? One? Two and a dog? More? No matter how many littles live at your house, each bundle of joy comes with lots of entertaining moments, tiring moments, proud moments, and totally INSANE moments too…
One thing is for sure: each child changes everything forever!
Not that long ago you were anticipating the arrival of that precious little one. You knew he would come with a fair share of difficulties but you also knew that becoming a parent was going to be the most awesome experience of your life!
After all, you could already feel your heart expanding – making room for this new mysterious, miraculous creation!
He arrives and your heart feels like it could burst with love for this precious, helpless human.
Oh the many faces of the moments that follow as you get to know this little guy. Sweet bliss!
Reality check!! – He’s adorable but YOU are EXHAUSTED.
Now, the lovely wedding day is a faint memory
and it has given way to…. uhhh…
the crazed fear and dismay of parenting a two-year-old!
Have you ever wondered why God designed these little ones to grow up under a parent’s care? I mean, they could have been born full-grown and independent. Or they could’ve hatched from an egg and never met their mom. But that’s not how God designed this mini-human to grow. No, quite the opposite.
He made this precious bundle totally dependent on US, the parents. Seriously? I mean, we adults are all kind of a mess in the selfishness department! Why would God do this?!
I don’t know about you, but I have yet to meet someone who is really prepared for parenthood. You know why that is?
We aren’t ready for parenthood because we can’t even begin to comprehend the concept of loving that deeply, that selflessly, that sacrificially until we hold that priceless treasure in our arms.
We stare at that little face, experience those tiny little fingers wrap around our finger and we know, this is it. This is no dress rehearsal; it’s the real deal. This little one will be shaped by who I choose to be. And this little one deserves so much more than what I am capable of being on my own.
For awhile we’re so distracted by all the newness and responsibilities (and exhaustion) and joy of parenting that we are able to tuck away that nagging reality that we alone are not enough for this little one. But pretty soon as the newness wears away and as the complications of life come stronger, we are faced with a choice.
Who am I going to be?
God’s been wanting us to ask this question for a long time, but we weren’t ready to listen. Up until now we had managed to push Him away. It’s actually not that pretty of a picture at that moment because we feel like throwing our hands up and saying, “Wow, not only do I stink at parenting, in fact, I kind of just stink at life!”
But our love for this tiny-yet-giant responsibility holds every ounce of our heart and we seek to be better for our little one’s sake, and we step towards our Heavenly Father and ask Him to lead us.
And there it is! Now we arrive at the exact pivotal moment that matters most! Our wildly intentional Creator wanted us to realize our need for HIM and His desire for us to be in a deep, meaningful relationship with Him. Do you think, when your child is older, if she keeps her distance from you emotionally and your relationship becomes just surface, wouldn’t that break your heart? It breaks our Heavenly Father’s heart when we keep our distance from Him. There’s so much guidance and peace and future with Him that He longs to bring to our life, if we will let Him.
For some of us extra-stubborn adults (such as myself), those adorable little handfuls are the only force in creation strong enough to motivate us to transform from a “selfish human” into an “I-love-this-little-guy-more-than-I-love-my-(habits, hangups, reoccurring selfish choices)-human.” You see, we’re all pretty messed up. But God is a gentlemen, He’s not going to force us to change if we don’t want to. IF we are willing, He will help us change. And it is this little treasure that we have been entrusted with that is the motivation we needed to turn to our Heavenly Father to bring us the abundant life we had been missing.
So he sends these little adorable people to reveal ourselves to us. And then He does the UNTHINKABLE!! – He designs them to IMITATE our every word and action.
Do you realize you’re being watched?
The reality is, that no matter which choice you make at that critical moment in your parenting journey (or, now for me, grand-parenting journey), whether you decide to turn to God for His strength and wisdom, and finally realize that His ways are better than your ways, or whether you keep right on pushing Him away, either way your little one is YOUR great IMITATOR.
She adores you!
He wants to be just like you!
And they study your actions
and read your heart
and do likewise.
even your choices…
she is imitating you.
What you do, he wants to do.
What you value, he values.
Who you disrespect, he disrespects.
And what you ignore, most likely, so will he.
what do you value? what are you choosing?
Your little doesn’t need a perfect parent (those don’t exist), but what he or she needs are three main ingredients to flourish and thrive under your care:
1. Littles need lots of love-tank filling daily. (See Part 1 and the book The Five Languages of Your Child)
2. They need a sense of safety and consistency. (See Part 2)
3. Children need parents who recognize their need for their Heavenly Father, who let Him in to their heart in a big, all out “transform-me-completely-God” kind of way. They need you to lead in choosing to let Him lead in all things.
Our children are our great opportunity to turn over the running of our life to our Heavenly Father, for their sake and ours. And, in so doing, we become the person that God wanted us to be all along, so that they have a better opportunity to choose well also.
Don’t waste this great moment, for a little one is depending on you to choose well.
Ephesians 5:1 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”
“The thief (Satan) comes to kill, steal and destroy. I (Christ) came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11