Monday, September 10, 2012

Embracing Quirks

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We all have quirky kids.

I’m sure you could write me out a list as long as your arm of all the weird, goofy, sometimes annoying things that make your kids uniquely them. Here are a couple for my crew:

My son is messy. I mean, I know all little boys are messy, but James just revels in it. I think he would be happier painting himself in peanut butter than eating it. He has to change clothes at least twice a day—and every article of clothing is coated in sticky, dusty, yuckiness that makes me cringe when I have to touch them on laundry day.

I do not like being sticky, dusty, dirty, grody or in any other sense yucky. No, No, I do not.

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Sophia loves arts and crafts. She is never happier than with a paintbrush in one hand, a bottle of glue in the other, with a ready canister of glitter at her elbow. She is incredibly creative and loves experimenting with all different ways to express herself through her work.

See above. I do not like being sticky, dusty, dirty, grody or in any other sense yucky. Ergo, I am not a huge fan of arts and crafts.

There are many more that I could name. For example, my son is incredibly emotional. My daughter is terrified of new experiences. Perhaps your son or daughter is clumsy or forgetful or loves to be barefoot or _______________________ (you fill in the blank).

But you know what? God made my children the way they are for a reason. He doesn’t mind that my son ends up wearing every meal, and I’m sure He takes great delight in my daughter’s artistic endeavors.

God made me the way that I am, too. He knew what he was doing when He made me with an incredibly acute sense of touch. He doesn’t mind that I don’t like being messy. God loves all His quirky children.

If I want to model God’s love for my children, then I need to love my kids’ quirks, too.

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God knew my kids before I was even born. He knew just how He wanted them to come out. It’s not my job to question him or to gripe about it or to pray for Him to change his mind and change them. It’s my job to love them completely in all their weird, silly, goofy, messy yuckiness.

How can we accept even those oddities that really get under our skin? That make us grit our teeth or roll our eyes and make us want to scream?

1. We pray.

2. We pray some more.

3. We practice the virtue of self-control—we rein in those eye rolls and that building urge to scream. Because we remind ourselves that our children are blessings—and so are their quirks. Which brings us to #4.

4. We say thank you.

The more we celebrate our kids’ individual oddities—especially the ones that irritate us—the more we grow in virtue. We grow in charity as we accept them for who they are. We grow in patience as we learn to bite our tongues. We grow in self-control, as mentioned above. We grow in fortitude—because some quirks you never grow out of. We grow in gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. And through it all, we grow in wisdom.

Lets give thanks to God together for the motley, quirky little people He has blessed us with. Who knows? Your children’s quirks—those ones that really get under your skin—may be signposts on your path to holiness. Someday, I expect I will look back and find that I remember those quirks with fondness, but I want to ensure that my children look back on their memories fondly, too—without shame, knowing that I have loved them just as they are.

Which of your kids’ quirks do you struggle with the most? Single and childless folks, are there some quirks you’ve seen in others’ kids that really bug you? How can we all grow in loving these children right where they are, quirks and all?

3 comments:

  1. It's funny, but one of my youngest boy's quirks is that he hates to get goopy and dirty, which has hindered his enjoyment of painting and other crafty things. The ironic thing is that I kept pushing those things on him, because my oldest two were about as crafty as you can get. They were constantly making things totally on their own - all I had to do was provide supplies. The mess drove me crazy, but I sucked it up and made myself appreciate their creativity. After embracing the mess I really enjoyed watching them at "work", so I felt sorry that my youngest boy didn't get into that like they did - especially since my daughter developed into a really talented artist!

    Thankfully, I finally realized that I should just back off and embrace his personality, and now I often find him engrossed in drawing, and sometimes even painting, right along with big sister. :o)

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  2. Thank you for this reminder. I needed to read this today.

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