"At your funeral what do you want to be remembered for? What parts of your momming do you want our kids to remark on when they are adults?"
These are the questions Chris and I discussed after attending a memorial service for a good friend's dad who died suddenly and tragically in an airplane crash. Needless to say the whole ordeal shook us up. But there was some measure of peace and even more measure of challenge received when we noticed the full life Dan Saunders lived. What stuck out to me was how much he loved what he did and therefore loved life.
Loving life. Living life not in fear. Refusing to accept the status quo. Willing to step out on a limb, take the adventurous route and possibly fail miserably. Those were some of the things that came to mind.
As for being a mommy. Two things came to mind. Being willing to admit wrongs, especially to my kids and seek their forgiveness, no matter how small the offense. And secondly to see immense potential and believe deeply in my children in all that they endeavor. I will camp on this second one for a moment.
There might not be anything more shaping in a child's life than what they believe their parents to think of them. And I've seen this play out in our two oldest (2 and 4 yrs) time and time again. Just this afternoon Abishai was out riding his bike down the big dirt hill (sort of frightening for the onlooking parent). I couldn't help but laugh at how he wouldn't start down the hill until he was sure I was watching and returned to the top with a gleam in his eye saying mom, did you see how cool that was?( At 2 yrs, it was more like, 'Mom, BIG HILL. GO REAL FAST!") But then it happened, the inevitable crash. A pretty big one. Enough to scare his Dad a little and add 2 new dents to the visor of his helmet. Well after 5.6 seconds of crying he picked up his bike and started pushing it back up the hill. He wouldn't look me in the eye, but kept glancing at me, almost as if he was trying to gage if I still thought him as cool as when he didn't fall. The emotion that played across his face was akin to shame. I got down on his level looked him right in the eye and said, "ABS! That was the coolest crash I've ever seen. And you got right back up! You totally rock!" And the biggest grin broke across his face. He was back in the game. And for your information he jumped right back on his bike.
Sometimes I think as Christians we spend all our time consumed with not failing, not making the unwise decision, not sinning, not 'stepping off God's plan for our lives'. Our culture respects those who are responsible, pursue security, have an answer for any situation. So much so that we don't step out at all anymore if we don't have all the answers. We have forgotten that even if we crash spectacularly God will still be there saying, "Awesome crash dude! Now lets try again and this time don't head for the tree." For if I can be this way with my son, how much more so is an infinitely loving and powerful God that way with us?
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! " Matthew 7:11