I can’t remember as many of my childhood memories as I’d like to. I’ve got to say that the majority of them are good ones, and for this I’m sure my mother and father would rest easy, since as parents we worry about how many mistakes we make, and how little we are we’re getting right or not: too much anger, not enough patience; more criticism than encouragement…
In all sincerity, I wasn’t aware exactly what a sheltered and happy home I grew up in until fairly recently, and this might appear rather obtuse for a person in my fourth and a bit decade of life; nor do I say that to rub salt into the wounds of those who still bear the scars of their growing up years. On the contrary, it’s the happenings behind closed doors in a child’s life that saddens me as I remind myself of my inability to change hurtful situations. All I can do is remedy my own choices.
It’s the childhood experiences that colours an adult’s world, no matter the age. It’s been said that “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. Then the Bible tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” That’s a powerful truism.
The innocence of childhood is so fleeting, and so is our guardianship as parents. I recall someone saying that she did not own her children, but that she had merely been given the opportunity to watch over and teach them for a time. Our guardianship is a beautiful and transient gift; because childhood disappears almost as quickly as it takes to teach them to tie their own shoe laces.
Sometimes it seems that we take one step forward and two steps back in the daily routine of parenting, and yet the wonder of children is that they are so forgiving. Yet before they outgrow the shoes of youth, let’s take every opportunity to help make memories that enable them stride into their future with confidence, purpose and faith in themselves. All it takes is heart, and as far our children are concerned, that’s all they ask.