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A treasure found

February 24, 2008

Our job in parenting is to love our children and that involves many aspects – teach, watch, model, correct, show, nurture, care, discipline, engage, let go, protect – preparing all of them (body, mind & soul) for life.

This is a life-long job that is one of the most rewarding and one of the most challenging. We don’t get a report card, a progress report or a yearly review on our parenting to rate how we are doing. But if we are careful and pay attention, we do get glimpses into our children’s hearts and minds.

Those glimpses are treasures and provide insight into the person our child is becoming.

treasure

We caught a glimpse into Jocie’s heart yesterday.

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Jocie is our oldest daughter, 8 years old. She is soft spoken, has a tender heart. Life hasn’t spoiled her love of learning or interesting in trying new things. From the time she went to preschool, numerous opportunities for activities – educational, recreational or otherwise have come home. We’ve had to limit many activities that were good in order to what is best for Jocie. Each time we’ve said ‘no’ to a new activity, we’ve explained why. Sometimes Kevin and I would venture out and guide Jocie in making a choice between one activity or another. All too often, Jocie would respond “I can’t decide” or “It’s too hard to decide” while her eyes would fill with tears. We’ve also had experiences on the other side, where we haven’t said ‘no’ and Jocie has experienced life when she is too busy. (Never claimed to perfect at this parenting thing.)

For the past two years, Jocie has participated in a talent show at her school. A great experience for her and we’ve enjoyed helping her prepare and then watching her perform at the talent show. All school year Jocie has mentioned periodically what she might do this year – it is something she’s looked forward too. When the talent show information came home, my heart sank. The talent show is about 1 month later than it has been in the past, putting it about 3 weeks away from her dance recital.

Yesterday morning, Jocie and I talked about what she has going on – science olympiad in a few weeks, try-outs for the talent show, spring break, the talent show dates, preparing for the dance recital and dance recital dates. I tried to do this matter of fact and not ‘lead’ Jocie in her decision. I asked her what she thought she should do.

She said in a quiet voice. “I guess I should not try out for the talent show.

I could hear the disappointment in her voice (I could feel it in my heart as well). I was surprised that she had no tears. (I was certain the tears would come later that night – as she lay in her bed and processed the day. But no tears about that last night either.) For the first time, Jocie said ‘no’ to something good in order to live life at its best.

I was given a glimpse of the maturing of my first born and her ability to make a wise decision.

Wisdom is priceless.

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