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You should enjoy every moment now.

You know that blog post that's circling Facebook?  That one about the father who hates it when people tell him to, "enjoy every moment now!  They grow up so fast!"  If you haven't seen it- how could you not, but just in case- here's a link.

And I'll say this first.  I don't hate Steve Wiens.  I think that he's probably a pretty nice guy, and a good pastor.  But I HATE this article.  I mean, really hate it.  I react viscerally to it, and I just can't talk about it with Josh anymore because I think it makes him feel bad.

I actually agree with a lot of his points- don't strive towards perfection- strive towards being, "a better version of the person you actually are."   Don't beat yourself up over your parenting mistakes- turn them over to God and admit your faults.

I just hate this idea that your children are a burden.  I hate thinking of children as though they are things to be endured rather than gifts from a Loving Father.  I hate the culture we are in that tells us that children and their care is so exhausting we deserve a little more time to ourselves.

Our culture does not love children.  We do our best in every aspect of our society- even church- to separate out these people and make sure that they are kept out of the adult's world.  We have legalized abortion, infant daycare, pre-school, 7 hours of school a day, and then after-school care, if we need it.  On Sundays, many Protestant churches have Sunday that the kids aren't bothering everyone else while they are trying to worship God.  Why does it feel like we are trying to escape our children?

I have a good friend who started counting down the years until her kids were out of the house- in the first year of their life.  She and her husband have even planned out what they're going to do once the kids are gone in great detail.  The sooner their kids are independent, the better life is.

I've been thinking about the story of the talents in the Bible- three men are given gifts from their boss to steward, and one man is given a smaller portion than the other two.  The other two put their money to work and create something more from what they had- they multiply their blessings. The last man, angry and bitter that the boss gave him so little to work with, buries his money.

You know the ending, right?  The boss comes back, tells the two guys that made a profit- "Nice work!" rewards them, and then moves on to the last man, who pulls out the meager portion he received and says- "It's all here!  It was only a little, so I just kept it, and I knew what a mean man you here."  (I know.  Just the worst paraphrasing ever.  I think you should go to the source- Matthew 25:14-30)

At this point, the boss gets angry, and tells the man that he wasted his opportunity!  Knowing how hard the boss is, the man should have invested it!  He should have done SOMETHING with this gift.  He should have appreciated that he was being trusted with anything!

This is why Steve Wiens article bothers me so much.  I see parents that are burying their children's years in the dirt all around me.  I see fathers who are too tired and too lazy just ignore their kids, and mothers attempt in a desperate way to maintain their pre-baby lifestyle.  I watch people freak out about the amount of time they'll have to spend with their kids when school is out.  I have friends that have complained from pregnancy to elementary school about how much they hate having to deal with their children. 

We don't need someone to tell us that it's okay.  We need someone to remind us to BE GRATEFUL. 

I get that Steve Wiens is a perfectionist and he probably reads all these mom or dad blogs that make him wonder why he isn't doing all the things they are...I can fall into that trap, too.  I have told myself it's okay to let some stuff go. 

But it isn't okay to always want to be at work, or to be constantly waiting for the kids to go to bed.  It isn't okay to hate your kids voices.  We do need to enjoy every moment- because there are people who don't get to.

It may be that this article caught me at the wrong time in my life.  When I read this article for the first time in April, I was watching, via the Internet, some friends of mine from college lose their baby boy.  He lived a year- a short year- in which they prayed, hoped, pleaded- and gave thanks.

They rejoiced in a year of constant medical problems, diminished mobility, and enormous lifestyle changes, because it was their boy.  Their beloved son.  And when he died, his mother wrote about how strange it was to not worry about all of the machines that had become part of her family's life- and about how their absence made her mourn more.

Last month, a young man we have been close to for seven years fell to his death while mountain climbing.  He was twenty one, and one of the brightest kids you'd ever meet.  I watched his family struggle in the sudden loss of their son and brother.  His mother was so glad that they had spent Mother's Day all together.  It was so soon, so fast...

The next time you feel suffocated by your children and their misbehavior...the next time your child puts you in a position that you have never wanted to be in...the next time you want to hide in the pantry and weep, try enjoying.

Just try it.  Think about my friends who lost their baby who was never old enough to make a mess, or throw a tantrum.  Think about my friends who lost their bright and strong twenty-one year old, just entering the responsibilities of adulthood- all the work and care that went into him worth two decades of life.  Think about the endless stories of losing a child, and be thankful that yours is here.  

I'm not saying that this will make everything better, but it does help.  It always helps to be thankful.  In everything.

You should enjoy every moment now.  Now might be all you have.


Abigail said…
I just read the article you linked to (stupid non-facebooker that I am), and you share so much I'd like to respond to, but I'm nursing a baby as I type, so I'll make it short. Mostly, your words made me yearn to be real life neighbors instead of opposite-coast bloggers! I would love to encourage and be encouraged by you in this area. I practically shouted, "Yes, yes, YES!" as I read.

Around the same time that Oliver's body was giving out, I was reading news stories about Kermit Gosnell, and the two glaring realities made me weep for different reasons. Thank you for writing this. Thank you. More voices of truth like yours are needed in our culture.

Would you mind if I someday linked to this post on my blog?
Abigail said…
p.s. I came back because I meant to add that I love it when strangers approach me to ogle the children and then tell me to enjoy this time because it goes so fast. I thank them every single time because it's GOOD to be reminded.
Sarah Tate said…
Thanks, Abigail. Rosie (Sharon) and I talk about this issue a is one of the reasons that I love reading your blog- I love how you really see the value in your children.

I wish we were neighbors, too. I actually had that exact thought just today. But really, I want you to boss me around so that I'll be a better homeschool teacher.

(And link all you like.)
Abigail said…
Just in case you didn't see this link Sandy shared in a comment on my blog, enjoy.

Yup. That about covers your comment about "bossing you around." :)
Abigail said…

I totally GET this woman!
Rebecca said…
Came from Abby's blog. What a great article- you are so absolutely right. I wish more people understood this wonderful truth.

If I went on Facebook, I'd totally make this viral. ;-)
heidiann(e) said…
I'll add my "amen" here, and thank you.

I've been trying to put my finger on the joy-less parenting I often see, and I like your analogy to the parable.

Thanks for these words, Sarah!
Jody said…
I love what you have to say about kids being gifts rather than burdens. Our church just recently decided to cut our Sunday School program and keep the kids with us to worship. I love it when God gives me glimpses that He is bringing the same messages to His people near and far!

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