This morning I was listening to a podcast on parenting from Focus On The Family, and there was a guy on there talking about casting a vision. Trying to see the world through analogies I suppose. I hadn't really been paying that close attention, until I heard him say something about our children being arrows, at which point I tuned in and backed it up to hear what he'd been saying.
"... Our children are arrows that we launch into the future, and the point of Christian parenting isn't to keep the kids in the quiver. A lot of parents are, like, committed to their titanium quiver, like, 'Have you seen my quiver, boy this is really strong, and the world is not going to get into my quiver, it's really strong.' Well the point of the quiver is to carry the arrows until they're released into warfare ..."
He went on after that, but this particular part of what he was saying touched my more imaginative side. Children as arrows? He also compared parents to being the bow ... So if we are the bow and they are the arrows, and we use the connecting string to create tension (such as curfews and chores) in the lives of our kids, what's the target?
If my daughter is an arrow and I am the bow, what I am I shooting for? And what am I shooting at?
Obviously the analogy is comparing our ways of raising kids to our goals in the end ... but what are my goals? What does the target look like?
I don't know about you moms out there, but my target doesn't have a lab coat on. It isn't wearing the uniform of a cheerleader, it isn't a rock star stage. It isn't the President's seat, and it might not have gotten the best grades in school. Maybe it's not even the best, most beautiful target. But it's solid. It's true and it's trustworthy.
My target for my "arrow" represents all the goals I have in mind when I pull the string, right? When I pull that string, create curfews and chores and jobs for my child, I'm creating tension in the string, I'm preparing the arrow to be fired upon the world. I must be doing great, because there's been "some tension" in our home ever since her second birthday ... I feel the vibration of an arrow ready to fly well before I'm finished aiming.
So where do I turn, which way do I let her fly when I'm ready to let her go take on the world? What kind of direction do I want her to take?
I'd like to think that I've got a good aim for her gift of empathy, for the ability to share in others' feelings, to sorrow with them, and to share their joys. I'm shooting for things of the heart, not things of the world. I don't care if she plays sports, I don't care if she's Homecoming Queen. I don't care if she's at the top of her class, or if she goes to college, and I don't care at the moment what she goes for if she does go to college.
Clearly, I want her to graduate, and to do well in school, and yes, I do want her to go to college. But I also realize that that's not everything. Those are not the most important things. What's important is who she is when she grows up, thoughtful, caring, considerate, helpful, and willing to sacrifice to help others.
Because it shouldn't be so much about what they do, like being a doctor or a scientist ... but who they are ... and in the end, I want to raise my Teenybop to be salt and light in the world, because that's the ultimate success in parenting, to have guided her to achieve God's purpose for her life. To raise a child who brings a certain flavor to the world, and one who lights up the lives of the people around her.