I think most people would agree with me when I say that children are wonderful things. They bring out joy we forgot existed in some of the smallest of occurrences, and they are never afraid to lovingly point out our faults and reduce us to a healthy dose of humility. The honesty with which they navigate this world is a wonder to behold, but it is rather difficult to obtain or even maintain once you reach adulthood. By that time, it seems we become shackled with societal norms and etiquette, and life loses its once precious simplicity. I find myself often "baiting" my children with questions, just to see where their logic lies, just to glimpse -even for a mere moment- what the world looks like through their eyes.
And today was no exception.
Today, I was blessed with the rare ability to pick my children up from school, and enjoy some extra time with them that I normally don't get during my usual work week. So there we were, driving down the road, telling each other about our perspective days. Hayden, my youngest, is definitely the comedian in our little family, and he was making us all laugh. He was spinning this yarn, and when he finally approached his punchline, it unfortunately flew straight over my head. When I told him I didn't get it, he patiently explained it to me in slow, small words (which I always find amusing... it's that, "Geez, Mom. Let me spell it out for you" tone).
Having understood the reference, I remarked, "I see, said the blind man."
Now this is a phrase that I know my family has passed around more times than I can count, as have many families, I'm sure, that were raised in the Christian faith. My boys, however, weren't raised in the Christian faith. I've waffled between spiritual ideologies so much in their short lifespan, that they know of God, they know the importance it is to love Him and have Him in their lives, but outside of those basic principles, they really don't have a frame of reference for the ways of God and the miracles He's performed.
So as you can imagine, my little Hayden (and Gabriel, too!), were quite confused by my statement.
"I don't get that pun, Mom," Hayden said.
Gabe, always being very astute, said, "I don't think it's a pun, Hayden. I think it's a statement?"
"Haven't you ever heard the story of Jesus and the Blind Man?" I asked, knowing full well that they had been to church enough to at least hear that iconic bible story once, but to my dismay, they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.
So it was that at 4:30 in the afternoon on a warm Friday, I found myself conveying the story of Jesus and the miracle of how He made the blind man see. Hayden, bless his little heart, was still confused, though Gabriel said he understood. So Hayden, patting my arm reassuringly, said, "Mom, you're just not very good at telling some stories. It's okay." Not exactly something an aspiring writer wants to hear from her offspring.
I tell this tale with a remarkable amount of embarrassment and regret. Despite your choosing of faith, there are certain oral traditions that every parent passes down to their little ones. Some read Bible Stories, some read Dr. Seuss, and some are clever enough to invent their own. I realized in that moment just how, in a race to assure that our livelihood was adequate, I had missed so many opportunities to share the simple things with my children. By being blinded by my own ambition down the long road to mediocre, I had, in effect, blinded my own children to the very traditions that I had built my foundations upon. Foundations that I have for too long taken for granted.
I am so thankful that is never too late. I am so thankful that late is definitely better than never. And I am eager to slow down, take joy in the simple things, and show my children what I know, rather than worry about whether or not I'm making enough money to keep them comfortable and happy.
Do not educate your child to be rich. Educate him to be happy. So when he grows up, he‘ll know the value of things, not the price. — Unknown