I get it. They can make us crazy. In the past two weeks, I’ve found my five-year-old son, Jericho, eating brown sugar straight from the bag at 7 am. I’ve found him covered in marker ink because he wanted to be a tiger. I’ve caught him climbing up on the counters because he was practicing parkour. Oh and I’ve seen him nearly flood the bathroom because his little action figures were at swimming lessons. It is a great gift to raise children but my heavens they can make us crazy with their creative antics. While I remember my tone and demeanor matter, I’m biting my lip when all I want to do is throw my hands up in the air in defeat.
“Bless him!” I say through red eyes and a clenched jaw. While I know he is just being a little boy I always remember that it could be worse, much worse.
Lately, I’ve been reading The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, a book for adoptive parents as they seek healing and wholeness for their traumatized child. It has been extremely eye opening and convicting. I’ve seen how parenting practices that I wasn’t thinking twice about have been harming, and not healing, his precious little soul. While brown sugar hidden under the couch for the ants does drive me crazy, how I react brands his soul like a hot iron.
The book suggests a firm, kind, and constructive direction when times are crazy. I get that. One can assume that’s a pretty good idea. What Purvis went on to suggest made me smile. She proposes for every moment of discipline, verbally bless your child at least five times. She gives examples such as, “You are a special son and I love you” or, “You are a precious child to me and who you are is just right.” Adopted children often struggle with shame and encouraging them to proudly be themselves is a beautiful thing.
Last night when I read this I absolutely loved this idea. Proverbs tell us folly is bound up in a child, so we should not be surprised when they are wild and crazy and free. My job is to encourage my son to be who God intended him to be, not a cleaned up version of myself but a redeemed version of himself.
To bless my child isn’t allowing false or sarcastic praise spill from my lips with red eyes popping out of my head as I grit my teeth. John Ortberg, a pastor, and author, describes blessing as the projection of good into the life of another. It is an overt act of our will. As my soul craves blessing as does my son’s.
Everyone wins when I bless him. He, my son, steps into a role of freedom, grace, and imperfection while my heart swells with gratitude as I speak and count my blessings.
I offer you this, my friend,
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26