One thing my new schedule and the beautiful weather allows me the freedom to do is take a walk down the back-roads behind my house. I have a favorite journey down a winding trail, canopied over with tall, waving pine trees.
When I trekked along this morning, I noticed the road had been repaved. Before when I walked, water from an underground spring flowed all over the road, in some places pooling up into quite a puddle. Since I’m not a six year old boy, the puddles aren’t my favorite thing to stomp through.
They repaved the road, making the center significantly higher than the sides, which created a perfect, natural rut for the springing water to flow along. This left the middle of the road dry enough to walk down without raising up my pant legs.
I don’t know why my brain thinks like this, but this whole scenario reminded me of my strong willed child. The child that has tested every ounce of my will since the day he was born. The child who’s passion and behavior often spills all over the road – or the store, house, wherever he is.
I remember at nine months old, after he refused to take a nap all day, he was completely exhausted. Exhausted. An exhausted baby throws one fit after another. And an exhausted mom, throws her hands up, screams in her pillow and doesn’t know what to do.
He wouldn’t let me hold him, but every time I put him down, he would topple over because he didn’t have the strength to keep himself up! Then he screamed from the pain along with exhaustion.
I was right there with him.
Finally, Adam came home and was able to help me. We knew if he would just be still for two minutes, he’d fall fast asleep. So, we brought our precious son to the bed and as gently and as firmly as possible, Adam held his legs and I held his hands just to make him be still.
There was nothing else to do. He screamed and tried to bust free for a few minutes (seemed like an hour) but finally he broke, his muscles calmed down and he fell asleep.
But that wasn’t the last time his wild will showed its face. You mommas with strong willed children know just what I mean!
So as I walked down the road this morning, looking at the water flowing neatly on the side and not seeping up through every crack in the black asphalt, I thought, “This is what I desire for my child.”
I want to channel all that energy and passion and let it flow in an appropriate place. What good does all that strength do when it just seeps through every crack and spills all over the road? But create ruts to channel it and it accumulates where it is designed to go. Channeled water creates rivers, streams and lakes, minus the puddles for cars to splash water all over innocent, lone walkers.
Raising strong willed children tests the tenacity of the parent and is not easy work. I don’t desire to just repave the road over and over again, damming up his passion and completely shutting him down.
I want to give him appropriate areas to exercise his gifts in, letting them naturally flow and transforming into great works. Through that process, I want him to see what happens when he uses his passion and strong will in the right way and what happens when he uses them randomly and they spill all over the place. The fact is, it can just be like an annoying puddle for others to wade through.
Wendy Speake Brunner and Amber Lia in their new book Triggers, encouraged me with this about strong-willed children: “Strong-willed children grow into strong-willed adults. One day we too, will see their stick-to-it-iveness as a blessing, when we look at it from the backside of these challenging years. God made our children strong-willed, so that once they put their faith in Him and submit to His will, they will not be detoured.”
Great perspective as I seek to channel all that passion to the side of the road!