We've had some crazy snow here over the past couple months so our snow boots were implanted by the front door. Pen's, mine and Caleb's, side by side. It's so cute to see Caleb's tiny boots sitting in between our much larger ones. Just looking at those boots taught me a lesson. They are a tangible reminder how small he really is.
Both my husband's tendencies and my own, if left unchecked, can hinder Caleb as he grows. If I were to place my boots on Caleb's feet, he would not be able to move (well, except face first towards the carpet). If I were to attempt to stuff my feet into Caleb's boots it would be none to pleasant. My bones would be cramped and if kept that way, they would deteriorate. Growth would be hindered.
In the same way we don't want to frustrate Caleb with overblown expectations. We don't want to handicap him with underrated expectations. Of course as parents we don't want to do anything at all that might impede him from being who God wants him to be.
Isn't it a relief that God doesn't sway either way! We are not treated in either extreme by our Father. He is the perfect parent. Family and friends may coddle us through our weaknesses or struggles while others beat us up for them. God does neither. He loves and He enables. Others Christians may judge us even as we are learning, seeking and so desiring to grow. God is cheering for us while running the race, not just upon reaching the finish line.
Discovering the correct balance of expectations is pretty difficult as parents. Determining where the line between extremes lies for Caleb at 23 months is difficult. But tomorrow he will be one day older, he will have learned new things, grown in comprehension and physical adeptness... and the line moves again, the balancing act continues. Neither extreme, expecting too little or expecting too much benefits my child. So we continue our mental scale, weighing their current abilities and comprehension, praying that we do what is best for him, that we won't be ones to hold him back, nor ones who push him too far too fast.
He knows exactly when we've hit our quota. He knows even more than the number of hairs on our head. He's aware of the rate at which our brain synapses are currently firing. He knows the maximum weight we can bench press (even if it's just the bar!). He knows the depth of our Biblical understanding, our physical and spiritual stengths. He's fully aware of the growth we've made after a troubled childhood or an untroubled childhood.
Isn't it interesting that the number of hairs that our head holds changes daily (or for some of us minute by minute)!?! If He can keep track of our falling strands, I think He can handle the rest as well.
The Truth God has given us, the directions He takes us, and the cousel He gives will never frustrate our abilities nor will they handicap us. They may prod us, prune and cultivate us but only to make us flourish.
That's the kind of parent I want to be to Caleb. Lord, help our training of Caleb encourage him to flourish!
"For I know the plans I have for you" declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener... every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1,2b