Jackson Five Friday: Parenting Lows

Hey Friends,

I hope your 2017 is off to a great start.  I am always comforted by the fact that the days are getting longer, and that really the first signs of spring are around the corner.

Today something triggered a memory from five years ago.  It wasn’t my brightest moment as a parent.  One of my volunteer commitments at Dub and Nate’s school was facilitating a Friday reading group time, called seminar.  The kids read shorter books with their teacher during the week and then on Friday they broke up into small groups for discussion.  The aim was to have the kids drive the discussion in a causal way, like conversation around the dinner table.  Depending on the book and the particular group dynamic, seminar sometimes met its aim and sometimes it didn’t.

One week that it didn’t was my fault.  Nate happened to be in my group that week and the mere sight of him was hilarious.  All my boys are blessed with substantial lips, and Nate’s upper lip is ample on a normal day.  Yet on this particular day it was three times it’s normal size, and he was oblivious to this reality.

“Nate,” I said, “What happened to your lip?”

“Nothing, why?”

“You didn’t bump it?  Or get bit or hit, or something?”

“No,” he said, with a total lack of concern.  Dub, like many of us, would’ve demanded to see it.  He would’ve needed to know what the heck I was talking about.  But not Nate, the mystery of the ginormous lip was of no import to him.

We then proceeded to have the regular discussion, sitting, the six of us, on a carpet in a quiet classroom.

But it wasn’t very quiet, or productive, because I couldn’t not get over the hilarity of Nate’s lip.  It was especially funny when he was trying to talk and make useful and thoughtful contributions to the discussion.

Do you know why Nate had a fat lip?  Some of you probably can guess.  Some of you are probably smarter than I was or am.   The fat lip was the first sign of a systemic allergic reaction to an antibiotic he was taking.  It was a reaction that landed him in the ER later that night, where he was treated like royalty.  If you show up with a child that looks half as bad as Nate, you get whisked in like little Prince George himself.  And yes, earlier that day I found the whole thing absurdly, hysterically funny.

Even after five years, I feel sick about it.  What if something had happened to that sweet, darling, beautiful, smart-as-a-whip son of mine?  I can only praise God that nothing did.

But we sometimes get things really, really wrong.  Nate’s fat lip was no laughing matter.  The grumpy person next to you in the grocery store may have just gotten devastating news.  The person who seems so witty and charming, so put together, has a host of issues you know nothing about.  Things are seldom just as they seem.  People are complicated.  Life is complicated.  Relationships require time and intention and kindness.  Parenting is hard work.

But guess what?  I have great news.  Actually it’s fantastic news.  The Bible says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5).  Ask for wisdom and it will be given to you.  Wow.  Is that amazing?  Are you faithfully asking God for wisdom?  Because He “gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  I wonder how many times in 2016 I specifically prayed for wisdom?   I can tell you for certain that it wasn’t enough!

May 2017 be the year that I persevere daily in asking my generous and loving Heavenly Father for wisdom.

With Love,


P.S.  A funny thing happened during the writing of this post.  I had written all of it, except the last few lines.  After I typed “The Bible says,” I realized how late it was getting and went and hopped in the shower.  A few minutes later, I heard Sam’s sweet little voice.  I poked my head out of the shower and answered.

“Mom,” he said, “I read that article you were working on.  Aren’t you going to finish it?

“What a sweet moment,” I thought to myself.  Clearly I had not prayed for wisdom quite yet.  I stupidly thought he had read and enjoyed my post.  Oh he’d read it alright!  And added to it, with inspiration from Mrs. Doubtfire.  When I came back to my computer this is what it said.  He is a witty little stinker!

Bless you friends, and may you not require a few light slams every now and then.  And may Sam, even when he’s given himself the best of laughs, remember to spellcheck!

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