This week has been a parenting eye-opener in more ways than one. Our oldest was 3 ½ years old when we moved to Indonesia two years ago, but this week he lost his first tooth! Both Jon and I were reeling a bit, “He can’t be THAT old already!?! What happened to our little 3-year-old?” It was a poignant reminder that this time with our kids will fly by—it already is!
Yet that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and roses. A few days later, we had the opportunity to host two kids from interior villages here in Papua. We went to a larger town about half an hour away for lunch, spent time at the arcade (I know, crazy there’s an arcade here, right?!) and then home again. During those few hours with our new Papuan friends, who were delightful, polite and courteous, my children morphed into spastic, whiny, entitled animals. It was a “moment” and not the good kind, the kind that makes you step back and reevaluate how you are parenting.
Sunday morning I was telling a friend with college and high school aged kids the saga of our experience the day before. She laughed and offered wisdom and encouragement, “You have great kids! This is just a phase, BUT if you don’t do anything about it, it will be a very long phase. So what are you going to change?” *Gulp.* It’s humbling to take a hard look at the bad habits that have started and can seem impossible to change. By God’s grace, I am not resigned to parenting wild animals, even though it feels like it some days. We will take this time to do all that we can for our precious kids, always looking to HIM for guidance and help, so that our kids may be passionate followers of Jesus with character that points others to Him … no matter where we call home.