Five Below the Kingdom

DSC01312I have to let go of wanting the best for my kids.

I know, that sounds weird doesn’t it. The thing is, what I know (think) is best for them, what I know (think) will get them the best bang for their buck, what I know (think) will get them the most enjoyment, isn’t always what they actually need.

When we go on a trip, do I want to schedule a, b and c so that they can get the most out of every opportunity, or do I sit back and recognize that being in a hotel with a tv by the bed, with easy access to an indoor pool, bringing a bike along, even just having an ice machine down the hall, is what they will get the most enjoyment from.

I think we should sample cheese at the Vermont creamery, and hike the gorge.

Now don’t get me wrong, my kids would have a blast doing those things, but not if I am hurrying them along and shooshing them on to the next thing. I could even go carefree on my schedule and be easy breezy about it, as long as we get to everything within the time who cares if we’re three hours late! But then if my scheduled life experiences mean they don’t get to play with the ice machine their trip is ruined. I want them to have the big things, I want to cross things off their childhood checklist, while they are busy just enjoying their childhood as it comes.

We have a tradition in our family that has developed over the past few years. For Birthdays and Christmas we take the kids to Five Below (it used to be the dollar store but everything breaks within ten minutes) and let them pick out a gift for someone. Usually the grandparents or a sibling. They love doing it, and the recipients love receiving it. So one night this week we went to pick out presents for my dad, his 60th birthday was coming up. Before we even get into the store T sees the basketballs. “Oh that’s it! That’s what Grandad needs.”


But sweetie.


Light of my life.

Don’t pick the first thing you see, look for something else. Translation, that sucks, I know better, find something for your grandad that I would pick out. Me the 34 year old woman, not you the six year old. Hmm now why do we do this again?

We spent twenty minutes in the store. With me herding him away from things he wanted which was valid, but also away from things he wanted to give his grandad simply because I thought they weren’t right. Guess what we ended up getting? Yup, the basketball. And he was so excited, and so happy about that basketball.

I let go. I realized as we past the T-shirts that I needed to just let T be T.

I’m a work in progress I know, and every day I win a little more of the battle over my controlling soul, letting myself simply be who God intended me to be, instead of striving to fit that mold I created. Every day I break another piece of that mold and let God’s grace recast me. Every day I learn more and more from these little darlings of mine what it is to walk with a childlike faith, to simply be who you are, without lists, or agendas, or hang ups.

Mark 10:13-16 says “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

If I could enter the Kingdom of God with the openness and love, the faith and joy with which my six year old enters Five Below in search of a birthday present, I think I’d be closer to being that child of God than I ever could with all my adult striving.


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