A few visits ago Karine settled down to do some schoolwork in the kitchen with her parents but Ezra was so wound up that morning that I decided to ask him to help me exercise in the hall so Karine could get some quiet study time. Ezra was wearing short, tight pajamas with soccer balls on them that used to belong to Josh and was running around barefooted. I suggested we play soccer with my rainbow ball.
For the next 45 minutes my 3 year old nephew coached me on how to kick the ball. “You see how I did it?” He asked in a sweet little voice so earnestly helpful I felt no sting of didacticism an older person’s tone might have hinted at. I was trying to kick with my left foot and we played in the hall next to the kitchen since it’s narrow enough for me to balance by touching both walls. I still missed the ball often and poor Ez had to do all the hard work and ran after it and gave it back to me. One time it rolled down the stairs and I thought how pathetic it was that “my” baby had to go get it.
But CMD made a good point one day. She said that it’s a positive thing that these kids are growing up knowing how to help other people. I was just recalling today how I used to go run around town with Hannah and Josh, shopping, eating, playing, etc. That seems like ancient history, now – and the current state of events is that all of “my” children know to look out for me, especially in public, but also at home – running up and down the stairs if I forget something or just making sure I’m okay in general.
This spirit of helpfulness is an outgrowth of love and it’s reciprocal bc I’m sure these children know I love them. My first word when I woke up was “video” – (no sound yet, I just mouthed it) – and my parents understood I wanted to see videos of my babies.
Caring for others is just one facet of the kind of character I pray for them to cultivate, though. Overall, I want them to grow into gracious, loving adults. To love your neighbor as yourself makes you more loveable, and news flash: lovability is a highly demanded character trait. You need to love and be lovable in order to be a friend – and you definitely need friends to help you through life.
So what better way to see if you’re on the right track than using the “Growing Up Lovely Checklist” in I Corinthians 13? For the record, this is what we’re aiming for. Caution: this is a work zone.
- Love is patient/long-suffering
- Love is kind
- Love does not envy
- Love does not parade itself
- Love is not puffed up
- Love does not behave rudely
- Love is not self-seeking
- Love is not provoked
- Love keeps no record of wrongs
- Love thinks no evil
- Love does not rejoice in iniquity
- Love rejoices in truth
- Love bears all things
- Love believes all things
- Love hopes all things
- Love endures all things
- Love never fails