There is a persistent question in the back of my mind on any given day.
"What do I want my children to know, what values should become second nature, and what do I want instilled in their still impressionable minds that will benefit them throughout life?"
Answers may vary, depending on the day and the emphasis. A love for learning, for example. A heart of servantude, how to know joy, how to keep peace, or wisdom to know what is important and what is not.
Sometimes it is actually education related, like, "if they can add one digit numbers with ease, they will find math easier altogether", or "if they can read, they can learn just about anything".
I find, however, their grades and reading levels are becoming not as important as the simple yet complex task of being themselves.
I read a quote recently that I will paraphrase since I don't remember the exact words or the author:
Creativity is the evidence that a child has survived adulthood.
Thank God, I think there is a child still in here- but only because of divine intervention.
Switching gears a bit, I have reflected on our current state, with fires and droughts and floods and uncertain economic futures. We can't live in fear. I can't live in fear, because if I do, I'm not really living.
I don't want my children to live in fear, either.
I see a political analyisis from one side of the aisle, stated by one confident individual, and an exact opposite from the other, equally as confident. Lately, I find myself rolling my eyes to the left and looking for a pole to bang my head on at the right. I have an opinion, a very strong opinion, but I'm not sure either side would hail my opinion as genius.
I want my children to think for themselves- not to necessarily follow one prominate figure word for word- unless that figure agrees with them word for word. No bandwagons. Not completely, anyway. And if they do have a different opinion than the majority, they won't let that alone change it.
But I pray that no matter what they do or say, that it will always agree with God. I have found that, no matter what the situation is, when it is all said and done, God's word remains the truth. If I didn't have that, I would sway anywhere- because no one really knows what is right anymore.
To stay "children" in a creative sense, but mature in wisdom and knowledge. To enjoy their gifts and personal preferences, while valuing someone else's. To disagree while listening, or even learning from another's opinion. These are the things I want for them.
As an American mother who also happens to be a Jesus freak, I have an opinion. And so does the childless atheist or Buddhist grandfather- and we all live in "the land of the free". And someone- in fact, many people think they can solve energy issues and unemployment and hatred and make sure everyone has their God-given right of owning an iphone. And if they still have not figured it out yet, maybe they should get a degree at Harvard or read twenty books on the issue and have seven hundred committee meetings where everyone argues and everyone knows they are right but will never convince anyone else.
Again, as an American/mother/Jesus freak, I am convicted that the answer is not intelligence alone. In fact, people of all kinds of intelligence may be a part of the solution. If someone declares themself as a Christian, I hope they know what that means, and what they are claiming to believe. I pray that they recognize that God promises to take care of our needs and should not fear. That they know as many promises as possible, and hold to the truths they claim to follow. And that they would truly understand who Jesus was and what he was trying to teach us. Then, knowing how God loves them and provides for them, they would live with a love for everyone that demolishes hate and fear- and then watch to see what happens. And if what we believe is really true (which I believe it is) the power of God will tear down walls and open locked doors and set even more people free. Otherwise, what is the point of faith?
I heard a news story that in the tradgedy of the Colorado wild fires, it was "the church's time to shine", and told reports of how Christians were caring for those in need. I dare say we do not need a fire to shine. Everyday is filled with opportunities to reflect Christ's love.
God is in the business of loving people, and He wants the most irritating (fill in the blank) to know His love. In addition, he wants the most evil crook, the worst smelling child, and the most self centered billionare to look to him in order to know real love.
So no matter what angle I am coming from, it ends up like this:
We should love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strengh so that we can love our neighbor as much as we love being ourselves.
So simple, so complex. But if we can do that with joy, I think we have found the meaning of life.