I recently encountered someone who does not have children saying that our society’s problems are the result of a bunch of parents who are like children raising their own children. While I get the point of this comment, I couldn’t help but laugh – what new parent hasn’t been discharged from the hospital and thought, “Wait, your leaving us alone with this baby? We can’t raise him, we are just kids ourselves!”?
And that feeling of being an unprepared child only grows from there. Every day. Getting bigger and bigger. Until the night your kid complains about the nasty dinner you cooked and you have a flashback to some of the horrific meals that your mom made you eat. That is the moment when you realize with horror that your own mom didn’t delight in feeding you rubbish, but actually had no clue what she was doing, either (she probably still doesn’t, but we will have to wait about 30 years to find out).
Yup. We are all just a bunch of kids trying to raise our own kids. But you know, for Christians thats a really good thing, because we are God’s kids and as we are struggling to raise up our kids in the way they should go, He is growing us to do the same.
He is teaching us to depend on Him as we juggle our families’ impossible number of wants and needs.
He is revealing our selfishness as we are forced to put the needs of others above our own, over and over again.
He is convicting us of our tempers and forcing us to acknowledge our sinfulness and our need of salvation in ways we never believed possible.
He is teaching us humility when everyone stares at our tantruming children, flailing on the grocery store floor.
He is moving us beyond our judgemental attitudes so that, we feel nothing but sympathy for the poor mom whose kid set off the “Do you have to go potty?” musical toy in the middle of a prayer (after all, our daughter is the one who, on that rare day that we felt brave enough to sit in the front row, whipped out concealed squirt guns and aimed them at the priest during the consecration.)
And, through it all, God is teaching us what it means for a parent to love a child and, by extension, what it means to be children who are loved by our Father.
Yes, we are all children raising children, and for Christians, that is a true blessing!