Read: 1 Corinthians 12:22-26
One of the first adjustments a parent makes is sending their children to school. (If you decide to homeschool, the issues are different but still very real. That was not my experience, so I cannot speak to those.) I sent three children to school and I experienced three different responses.
Our oldest daughter loved school. She loved it so much, in fact, that in the first week of school she informed me that Mrs. Yoder was the best person in the world. I, on the other hand, was “wrecking her life” because I made her go to bed. Quite frankly, I didn’t enjoy competing with her kindergarten teacher for her love and affection.
Our son hated school. He put on his brave face and went to his classroom like a trooper, but an hour or so later, I received a call from the school. He was a mess. The first week of school, I spent a lot of time conjoling Ryan and assuring him that he could be a happy farmer at school. I even gave him a Jolly Rancher to have in his pocket to remind him to be a Happy Farmer. Cheesy? Yes. At the end of the first week he told me he didn’t like it because “it is too much time away from you.” How sweet, right?! (He denies that today.) He also informed me at the end of the first week: “I will think about it and decide if I will go back on Monday.” Obviously, this wasn’t my preferred response to school either.
Our youngest daughter left for school with a bounce in her step and she adjusted very well. She didn’t say I was ruining her life when I announced bed time and she didn’t mind being apart from me. This was helpful to me as a mom, while at the same time difficult. It seems like she could have missed me just a little.
Your children will all be different and respond in their own unique way to changes in routine and in life. And their responses may not remain constant.
Twelve years after beginning school, all three of our children went to college. Interestingly, they all experienced their freshman year at the same university.
Our oldest daughter (and I) cried the first two weeks of her freshman year. It was gut wrenching to have her gone. She called nearly every day the entire four years of college.
Our son couldn’t wait to go to college and never once looked back. He didn’t call often, but we still remained a vital part of his life.
Our youngest daughter willing went to college and spent her first year on campus. The first semester went fairly well, at least on the outside. The second semester increased in difficulty every day. By finals week, I spoke to her three or four times a day in an effort to calm her fears about finishing well. She opted to live at home the final three years and study at a local university. This was a life-giving decision for her.
In many things, there isn’t a right or wrong. Children are just different. As parents, we do well to give them room to not only be different from one another, but to change along the way. Things that came easily at one point in life, may not always be easy.
In our scripture reading today, Paul emphasized that in the body of Christ we are all different and yet so necessary. The same is true in our families. We are all put together in unique and valuable ways. Caring for one another and appreciating those differences is essential.
Be alert and flexible as parents, allowing children to flex, grow and change. Love them deeply. Stay in their corner.