now I know how a mother bird feels
that fateful day when those tiny, hopping feet
first fall outside her twiggy circle of safety
teetering on the edge of the branch
stretching their inexperienced wings and looking down
she must be breathless when she first loses sight of them...
but for us humans, it's a slow, hidden ritual
like watching the tree grow
but there are days you notice a new branch beginning
or a new site on the growing horizon
and today was one of those days.
She got off the bus slower than usual
her daily bounce and grin suddenly missing
as if stolen in some violent, unseen moment
and she stepped inside to tell the story.
Four older boys who I envisioned with forked tongues
had hovered over her seat like crows
the ring leader hit her on the back
"Hey, little girl! Do you know what a _________ is?"
He continued with a series of phrases and gestures
I hadn't learned until high school and way past puberty
As the vulgar words and gestures were repeated
by our naive, confused and eternally precious little kindergartener
our hearts slid into our stomaches and we tried to catch our breaths
for me, the tears were immediate,
but I was safely on the other end of the phone
keeping my voice from wavering, my tone calm, my mind racing
with routes to speed up the commute back to the nest
But she could see the anger tightening in her daddy's jawline
as he explained that those words were not meant for her ears
and the boys needed to pay for what they'd done
a noble calling for justice teetering on vengeance in his throat
and then it happened,
You were there in her voice
as she walked over and put her hand on his shoulder
"Daddy, it's ok. I bet there's a nice boy
deep down inside this mean boy
and we should say a prayer that he can come out
and that his momy and daddy can start doing better
at teaching him right from wrong."
And there she was, winging off into the sunlight
carried by the winds of You
as we marveled from the nest.
We can't shelter her from the world
or even from the boy on the bus
but we can trust in You
to help us teach her how to fly.
"Therefore you shall lay up these My words in your minds and hearts and in your entire being, and bind them for a sign upon your hands and as forehead bands between your eyes.
And you shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you rise up.
And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates,
That your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth."
Deuteronomy 11: 18-21
"To be 'in charge' as a parent means inspiring your children to motivate themselves. Servant leadership addresses the key principle of relationship vs. control. The truth is we have a far greater responsibility to our children than we have for our children. The bottom line is this: You need to be in control of the thing you can control, and that starts with you. I am responsible to my child for how I relate with my child. The only way to retain a position of influence with our children is to regain a positon of control over ourselves."
Ron Craker, "Parenting" Journey Bible Class, February 2009
"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."
Ephesians 5:1-2 (Msg)