Stinkbugs, ants, spiders, and now…locusts! Forget Target, my seven year-old has decided she cannot even frequent the restroom in her own home alone anymore. Every day, several times, she takes my hand and begs, pulls, and whines for me to “come with” her. Her phobia? She claims that she is terrified of a chance meeting with a…bug. A bug!
This, friends, is a little girl who has insisted on dressing herself since age one. This is a little girl who would rather tie and retie her shoelaces ten times in five minutes than allow me to tie them once. Yes, this is the girl known by her sisters as, “Little Miss Bossy Pants.” It is her way or the highway and you better get out of the way thank you but no thank you, Mommy, I can do it myself.
Couple that with my eleven year-old who now claims that she is the, “best golfer in all eternity,” because she doesn’t golf. She says she will be known as the best golfer in the history of the sport if she just commits to never play. “Remember, Mom, the lower the score, the better you are. If I never play, I will never mess up my zero score.”
Somewhere, somehow, over the past, I don’t know, five months perhaps, my seven year-old know it all has regressed into a need it all and my eleven year-old has become a figure out a way to win without risking anything spectator at life.
Did I mention that my baby – their youngest sister – is now five months old? Yeah. Maybe that explains some of our new found fears and failures.
My little one is no longer my littlest one. She is feeling insecure. Some days she bounces brazen out of bed in her bright pink “big sister” shirt. Other days she pretends to need me more than she has in the past seven years combined. I know it is a stage. She just needs some reassurance. She needs encouraged. So I take her hand and stand in the bathroom. I hug her for no reason and I carry her like a baby. I tell her she is a big girl and a good big sister.
My oldest has more responsibility now, too. She recognizes her role as a leader and often helps tremendously around the house and with her sisters. Maybe she is feeling overwhelmed or maybe she just wants to find the easy way to get the most out of life. Maybe she is just being silly and trying to get a rise out of me like her daddy does. The truth is that the principle behind winning without trying is one that hints at presumption and pride. Risk and failure are necessary pieces of success’s great puzzle.
Isn’t it funny how half of our job as parents is convincing our children that they do not need us and the other half is convincing them that they do? What a concept. One encourages them when they are insecure and the other protects them when they exhibit pride. I need to get this. If I could just get this, wisdom would follow me.
Presumption and pride say, “I do not need you,” when I do. Insecurity and selfishness say, “I need you desperately,” when I do not.
There I am. There. I. Am. Staring small back at my children is their spitting image. Which side do I err on? Both, always.
How many times God has had to pry my hands off his pews and practically push me out the door to do the – even simple – things my selfish insecurities stall and stagnate me from setting out to start! How often he has had to pull me back by my bib when I become Little Miss Bossy Pants and protect me from the self-interested purposes I plan that are rooted in presumption and pride! Oh! How dull I can be! Even still, I am his darling as my daughters are mine. What grace!
Do you want to stay safe? Just don’t do anything. No risk equals no loss. That is great news for the insecure and the prideful but no risk is also no gain. No one grows by staying safe, never trying, and never failing. Insecurity and pride are vices that will suck the life out of every spiritual, emotional, and physical relationship you have.
Therefore, Target or no Target, go to the bathroom. Know when you need a friend and when you can go alone. Try your hand at golf and ruin your all-time zero score. Lead by example. Your children, family, and friends can find the way to faith from neither a need it all nor a know it all. Hug. Pick up. Reassure. Encourage. Protect. Push out the door if need be. Become a pray it all and see what happens.