Our little boy loves soccer. He’s been playing Timbit soccer, a local league for little ones in our town, all summer. On any given Tuesday, we begin counting down from the moment he wakes up to the time soccer begins.
As his team started their warm-up this particular Tuesday, our son participated in the practice drills, but I could tell something was wrong. A few minutes later he came running off the field, tears in his eyes.
After much coaxing, I managed to get these words out of him, “I want to go home.”
“Go home?! But you love soccer.”
“I want to go home,” he repeated.
He buried his face further in my lap as the tears continued to come.
He’s never been one for telling me how he feels. Usually I have to drag information out of him. Determined to find the cause of this unusual outburst I told him that we would not go home until he told me why.
Eventually he stammered, “I’m afraid they will laugh at me.”
Not sure where that was coming from, having never heard those words come out of his barely five-year-old mouth, I again asked the obvious question, “Why?”
He wouldn’t answer. Apparently he had told me enough.
After more convincing, resulting only in more tears, we packed up and mounted our bikes to ride home.
Hubby and I disagreed all the way home about how to handle the situation. His solution was an early bedtime for our son, as obviously he was overtired. My approach was much more feminine, wanting to talk the matter through with him. The former happened.
Later, as we were continuing to disagree about how the situation was handled, getting nowhere in our discussions, he stopped us short.
“Instead of arguing, let’s just pray.”
Holding hands, united as a parental team, even though we disagreed over this matter, we asked for wisdom in parenting. We asked that His presence would fill our home, fill our conversations with our children, and our lives as we model faith in front of them. We asked that each of us would appreciate the approach of the other, recognizing God has given us different perspectives to balance our parenting techniques. And we asked that God would strengthen our little boy, giving him the confidence that even if other kids did laugh at him, he is loved by us and the God who made him into the special person he is.
We are instructed in the Word to make the most of every opportunity. We are told to talk about God with our children when we get up and when we go to bed, when we are at home and we walk along the road. Teachable moments with our children happen every day and we can take advantage of them, if we keep our eyes open. But when one is overlooked, prayer covers the missed opportunity. It is the most powerful parenting technique we have.
I definitely feel ill-equipped for my role as a parent. Unfortunately, my children didn’t come with instruction manuals. I’m not always sure how to handle situations as they arise, and often feel I didn’t respond as well as I could have. I fail many times. But the most effective thing I can do as a mother is pray, asking for wisdom in raising the next generation.
And the God who gives generously, will supply.