I have trouble sometimes understanding spiritual matters. I pray and read and attend church, but I struggle to grasp some of the loftier ideas. Then once in a while, God shows me something so simple that I smack my head. Of course it would be wonderful to understand the many layers of Christ’s teachings, but perhaps the basics are enough for me to handle right now. And what better way to get something through my thick skull than to use parenting as the example. After all, that’s what I do. That’s what I am… a parent. I can identify.
My latest lesson came about during the current stage of my life. If you have older kids, you know the stage I mean. Some of the hands-on part of parenting is tapering off and I’m watching our five children begin to live their lives as young adults. Three are college-age living in different towns and two are still in high school. This year, everyone was home for Thanksgiving, Christmas and several other weekend breaks. We’ve always had great family time. We love the holiday rituals which have been in place since the kids were young. We enjoy talking, eating, and laughing together. But, for the last year or so I have been anxiously watching my offspring. Specifically, I’m watching their relationships with each other.I’m wondering about those days and months between the festivities. I can’t help but notice the siblings are moving in very different directions. Will they stay in touch? Will they go out of their way to be interested in each others’ lives? Will they call on one another for help? Will they offer help without being called? I hope…I pray they do all these things. I see them beginning to and it makes me feel so much love for them. It makes me feel happy and proud and so blessed. My husband and I have loved and cherished them, now they are following our example with each other.
Then, it dawned on me. As God’s children, this is exactly what we must do. Love one another. Look out for our brothers and sisters. God has loved us and taught us how to love. He has protected us and blessed us and now it’s our turn to reflect those things by loving one another. As strongly as I want my children to care for each other, how much more does our Father in heaven want His children to do the same?So let’s collectively smack our heads and start living in a manner that is pleasing to God, our Father. Let’s be good sons and daughters. By staying in touch, being interested in one another, helping out when needed even when our lives take us in different directions. It is so simple and so right.