My sweet little boy likes to paint with me. He likes to build with his Daddy. He likes to draw by himself. He likes to plan and sketch his ideas. He is thoughtful and intuitive. We see his interests growing. We see his talents slowly, slowly starting to emerge. We see. We watch. We wait.
I’ve had a prayer – really ever since becoming a mother – that God would reveal my children’s gifts to me early on in their lives. I pray for this, for their benefit and for my own. I want to be able to nurture and grow their own unique gifts. To gently encourage and lovingly push, when necessary. And, little by little, without even realizing it, that prayer is unfolding. Silently, day by day, it uncurls itself and spreads around us like a misty dream.
As our son expresses the desire to work with us on our projects, my husband and I have had a choice to make. Do we let him help? Do we get him involved? Do we say no? No. We say, “Yes. Come join us.” We hold back the thoughts that sometimes come… “It’ll take longer. There will be paint drips. There will be more mistakes. I want to do it right. I want to do it quickly.” Though at times, those are the exact things we want to say. At times, it’s all I want. To push him away. To do it quickly and quietly, on my own, in my own way. But, a whisper in my heart makes me suck those words back in before they ever reach my lips. I push those thoughts away and instead embrace the chance for time with him, his desire to be with me, his yearning to learn, build and create. Instead of cultivating feelings of unworth, feelings of “I can’t do it” or “I’ll mess up” or “I’m not good enough” or even, “I’m too little”, we carefully and cautiously and purposefully choose to say “yes” to him. Even when it’s hard. Even when we don’t always want to. Now, if I’m being totally forthcoming – there are times when we can’t always say yes. There are definitely times when we have to or need to say, “not today, buddy.” We aren’t perfect. We are real. But for the most part, we make every effort to create a “yes” environment for him and for his sister. It’s amazing actually. It gets easier and easier the more you do it. It grows with you and becomes part of you. Somewhere along the way it becomes just as good for your soul as it is for theirs.
I have always, always loved the way that prayers can, at times, unfold without you realizing it. We tell our boy that he’s going to be something someday … whatever that might be … whatever he wants to be. He has never faltered in saying that he wants to be a construction worker. He is almost 6. He has never swayed in that decision. He is, apparently, quite loyal. So, we dream with him. We dream big… “Maybe one day you’ll build beautiful furniture, design amazing skyscrapers, build custom houses, paint stunning portraits, write adventure stories, drive the coolest dump truck ever, climb tall mountains, kayak peaceful rivers, spread the gospel, take breathtaking photos, invent something interesting and useful.” We feel the desire in him to create and so for now, that’s what we are nurturing. Days will pass and different gifts will reveal themselves. We’ll continue to say, “yes” and our prayers will continue to grow and change and go with him…hopefully instilling feelings of, “I can do it” and “I can help” and “mistakes are part of learning…and they make creations more unique anyways…” We hope his confidence will grow. We hope he’ll recognize his own gifts. We hope. We pray. We watch. We wait. We hold his hand and walk beside him as much as we can.
As for our girl, she’s still little. We are enjoying her littleness. Her gifts have yet to reveal themselves to us, but our hope and prayer for her is the same … and we’ll do our best to say “yes” to her too, to help her grow and bloom in all the best ways. We won’t always get it right, with either of our children. We won’t always get it right with anything in life actually. It’s just part of it. You don’t get to always get it right. But, you do get a dose of grace and fresh start every single day. Choose yes. Choose big dreams. Choose love. Be the light.