The Blessing of the Children

June is a month to celebrate not only Father’s Day, but National Children’s Day on the second Sunday.  Children are such a rich blessing … a gift from God, a miracle of life!  Each one is uniquely endowed with a personality and set of talents established by their Creator.  What parent doesn’t perceive soon after each child is born how different he or she is from a sibling?  Their unique and individual beauty shines through as we lovingly help guide them in following the path of their God-given gifts.

I’m reminded of the verse:  “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)  There are different interpretations of Solomon’s wise words; but, for me, it means to work with (to train) each child according to their unique inclinations, tendencies, and abilities.  Our three children were clearly different.  Raised as best we could the same, their unique personalities, likes and dislikes, tendencies, etc. began emerging fairly soon after arriving.  And encouraging their differences helped direct their lives in the way they should go…

It did not take long to see who enjoyed being in the barn with their Dad at chore time, and who wasn’t fond of the barn and its smells.  One daughter, like her Mom, loved to be in the barn; the other daughter tolerated it, but preferred not to be there.  But, our son took to the barn like a duck to water.  You couldn’t keep him away, quite like his Dad… and Mom!  

Likewise, when our daughters were given toy tractors, they really weren’t interested.  Just give me a doll, please!  Yet, when our son came along, he naturally took to pushing the tractors and trucks around as soon as he was physically capable, along with making “Vroom! Vroom!” sounds.  No one ever taught him to do that!  He was very happy to acquire a full assortment of tractors and farm equipment to operate his own farm with a big barn built by his maternal great-grandfather.  And now our grandchildren enjoy playing with the barn, animals and equipment.

Given a homemade Cabbage Patch type boy doll for Christmas one year, I had to chuckle to see our toddler son as he flopped it around to change the clothes, or as he carried it head down, and would gently correct him – while our daughters were so tender and gentle with their dolls right from the start.  But, trust me, that was not indicative of how tender and gentle our son has been in caring for his own son and daughter!  It is equally a pleasure to watch our daughter as she cares for her three sons.

Beyond the days of childhood though, to watch them shine with their unique personalities and gifts, has been so rewarding!  To even be blessed with children has also given many rewards to us as parents.  There was a time, after two miscarriages, when I feared we would never have children.  And my heart goes out to those who have also lost children, like the loss of our oldest daughter at 25 years, or have not been able to have the family they desire.  

Being blessed with our three precious little ones, it was a joy to watch them mature into the wonderful adults they have become, as they married, and now bless us with grandchildren.  The roles have come full circle.  We who were once infants ourselves have grown up, matured, raised our own families, matured some more as we grew with our children’s experiences, and now get to relax and enjoy our precious “Grands” while our children repeat the age-old process.  

I also once feared the empty nest years.  How would I ever manage without my children around?  After our oldest daughter had gone to college, her siblings spent a weekend visiting her. When they came home, I had to admit to Jenn that I actually enjoyed having some time to pursue my own interests.  I said, “Ya know… I think I could get used to having an empty nest…”  And Jenn just smiled that knowing smile of hers.  But, oh, the joys of having watched them fledge to successful lives of their own!  My husband and I have acquired a renewed time for ourselves, time to cherish each other again beyond the busy activities of children in the house.  I delved into hobbies I had once pursued but put on the back burner to raise my family, reclaiming talents God blessed me with.  

It all reminds me of our first experience watching bluebird nestlings as they fledged years ago.  Little Bird just couldn’t get enough lift under his wings and landed in the grass while his siblings flew up to our roof.  Mama called to encourage him, fed him, and stayed with him.  Having to leave for church, we returned a few hours later to find they were both gone.  I will always believe Little Bird learned to fly despite my husband’s teasing that the cat got him!  Several years ago, I finally found time to write and illustrate this into a story for my grandchildren.  And that’s what it’s all about – lessons in a never-ending circle of life.

So now we’ve been blessed with a renewed sense of purpose, a new role as Gramps and Grammy to our five young Grands… to be there for them as they grow up… to help them as they strive to reach their full potential… as they become the blessings to others God intends for them to be.   

The Blessing of Children

Linda A. Roorda 

Each child’s a blessing, a gift from above

A precious bundle to love and to hold.

The wonder of life with joy unfolding

Like a blooming rose which opens to sun.

Tiny perfection created by God

Pure love at first sight, new life to behold

Dependent for care, nurturing cuddles,

Looking for parents to guide and protect.

From infant in arms to busy teen years

Each day awakens with much to be learned.

Deep roots must be grown, foundation to build

With dreams given wings in learning to fly.

Yet one day soon the time will have come

The nest will empty, the house will be still.

But this is not all, life holds so much more

For blessings of God do not have an end.

When nestlings have fledged, relationships change

Each busy seeking new roles to fulfill,

New needs to be met, new missions to serve

Each having purpose, established within.

And as the years flow more changes ensue

Grandchildren arrive with outpouring of love,

New meaning to life, usefulness restored

The empty nester has purpose renewed.