a mother’s heart (the prodigal story continued)

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Before I was a mother, I had so many ideas about raising children.  I was so sure about so many things.  I supposed that with the right combination of wisdom and discipline and grace, I could determine how my children came out. I assumed they came like dough, ready to be shaped by my hands.  I had a plan for my children’s personalities, and definite steps I would take to get the desired result.  

My first son allowed me to live in my delusion.  So compliant.  So eager to copy my expressions, to mimic my actions, to seek my smiles in his obedience.  I watched other mothers with children less complaint, and while I never spoke a word of criticism, I was smug.  If only they had followed my good example!  They too could have easy children.

The came my second, and he began my education.  Like my first, he was a beautiful child, smart, talented.  But he was not so quick to mimic me.  Didn’t press in for my approval, but instead toddled away to discover his own world, as soon as he was big enough to move around without my help.  From the beginning it was clear that mine wasn’t the only voice he tuned in to hear.  The simple steps I had taken to mold and shape his older brother had little or no effect on him.  This one kept me guessing, kept me running, kept me at the end of my resources.  It turned out I wasn’t as perfect a mother as I had been assuming all along – that I wasn’t as fully in control of my children as I had first supposed might be possible.

It was like that from the beginning, the difference between the two boys.  Why were we so surprised, then, at the turn of events as they came of age?  My older boy was working hard around the farm, helping his father with little or no need of instruction.  The younger, though he helped, talked all the time about far away places.  He craved adventure.  He felt he was made for more than this. 

When he started in on his dad about getting his half of the inheritance, I snorted wryly at him.  What a ridiculous idea!  He needed to get his head out of the clouds!  There was work to do.  I used my sternest “mother voice” with him and tried to stop this talk. 

But it persisted.  He pressed and pressed.  It wasn’t a fantasy to him.  He was after his father all through the days about it – asking, begging, wheedling, trying to negotiate. 

And then, most unexpectedly to me, his father started selling off assets.  Collecting up funds.  He was going to grant my son’s wish!  I argued with him late into the night, but his mind was set.  “Let the boy go and have his adventures, Mother.”  His eyes were weary.  “He’ll never be content here as long as he can dream about what is out there.  Perhaps if he goes out and finds the adventure, his heart will draw him back home to us.”

“And if it doesn’t?  What if he never returns to the farm?”  I was on the edge of hysteria. I wanted to pound my fists against his stubborn chest. 

“We have loved him well, and our Father will watch over him.  We must trust in that.  We must release him to his dreams.”

He won the argument. 

I didn’t speak to him for two full days, though.


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