Years ago, I overheard one of the saddest parenting conversations. A mother was telling her friend how she had instructed her daughter to stop hanging on to her, as the daughter was in middle school now and “too big” for such public displays of affection. Yes, you read that correctly. The mother told her daughter to stop hanging on to her because the daughter was too “grown-up” for such childish behavior.
Did you know that when your children take a big leap in growth, it is natural for them to crave a little regression to a previous stage? You will sometimes hear adults describe teens as, “One minute he’s making adult decisions and the next he is acting like a two year old.”
Do you ever have the temptation to laugh hysterically, when you hear someone religious talk about quiet times, meditating on scripture (I am pretty sure “Thou shalt not murder” isn’t what they have in mind!), journaling, etc.? Many spiritual activities seem to require two things most Moms lack – free time and quiet.
In my last post, I mentioned a friend of mine who has a child with profound special needs. What I didn’t mention is that her child is now thirty years old! This is a special blessing as most children with his issues do not live nearly as long as he has. On the other hand, this means my friend is maneuvering a grown man in and out of slings, beds and wheelchairs. The things she has to do to care for him would exhaust the most energetic person. Yet she rarely appears ruffled by her life at all.
One of the most fun things about parenting is introducing your children to some of your favorite things. Seeing them light up at the things you love, brings a special joy to your heart. In fact, one of my favorite family vacations was when we took our daughter to New York City for the first time. We had the best week, taking her to all of our old haunts and watching her fall in love with the city.
What I enjoy just as much, is when my daughter introduces me to something she loves. Without my daughter, I may never have discovered some of the Indie musical groups she enjoys or Mental Floss magazine. The other day though, she really hit the jackpot.
Yesterday was a special day in our congregation. Twice a year we have a special Mission Sunday, when the entire offering for the day is given to various mission efforts. Each time, we focus on a particular mission field our congregation supports. Normally, we have someone speak who is involved in the efforts at that location and take up the special collection.
This time, the focus was on an orphanage in Mexico our congregation had helped start several years ago. This was the tenth anniversary of the first child arriving at the home. We decided this time we would add a chance to celebrate and involve our own children in Missions Sunday.
When anyone teaches the story of Hannah, they tend to focus on the interaction between Hannah, Eli and God. After a discussion of Hannah’s fervent prayer, the teacher will usually fast forward to a few years later when Hannah fulfills her promise to God and leaves little Samuel with Eli. Hannah’s actions have a lot to teach us, but we are missing out on someone else who is just as pivotal in this story in his own way – Elkanah.
Elkanah was Samuel’s father and Hannah’s husband. The scripture actually tells us more about the kind of man Elkanah was than we think. You see Hannah was able to “parent like Hannah” because Elkanah was the husband and father Hannah and Samuel needed him to be. So what can Elkanah teach fathers who want to dedicate their children to God?