Yesterday I took my kids for a two mile bike ride/walk. During the entire walk, I was pushing my 2 year old on her trike with the front wheel of my baby’s stroller and yelling “NO! Don’t go in the road!!! NO! You’re stuck on the curb. NOOOO! Not in the road. MYRA JANE! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? STAY BY THE SIDEWALK AND YOU”LL BE SAFE!!!” For. Two. Miles.
Just like everything that taxes you, this felt like a metaphor for parenting. We give our kids some momentum, but ultimately, the course they choose to pursue is in their hands. If we allow them to veer off into the “open road” of worldly gratification and limitless boundaries they will get squashed. Maybe not at that moment, but soon enough. The opposite is also dangerous: teaching them to be so fundamentalist that they have no room to breath gets them stuck. Overzealousness in any gospel hobby (Word of Wisdom, preparedness, over-the-top craftiness in the name of calling or visiting teaching, hours of scripture reading every day, etc.) will stop their progress too. When we become fixated on one element of the gospel, we miss the big picture and the joy that comes with living a balanced life.
I tried to teach that two year old that she needed to stay in the “safe spot” between the white line and the sidewalk–as close to the sidewalk as she could ride without getting stuck. She did well with CONSTANT reminding. But would veer off one way or another when distracted or simply because she was only 2 and not yet that great at steering her tricycle. It takes a while for our kids to learn how to focus and to control their impulses and actions in life too. Partly, they just aren’t that good at using their bodies yet. So we continue pushing, correcting and encouraging (Yea! That’s right–stay RIGHT THERE!!!). And soon enough we’ll get home.
Plus, there is nothing to blog about when it’s a smooth ride.