Like the Box Top Picture on a 5000 Piece Puzzle

Sokvannara (Sy) Sar,  as described in the last post, gives us a picture through his life of what humility, self-control, perseverance, kindness, and respect look like. Wow! Nothing much is more powerful than a flesh and blood example.

It’s wise to point out to our children the lessons they can learn through others, although often it’s better to ask your children what they can learn from what they see in someone else (in life, in a book, or in a movie). Then run with the conversation. Yet, we know our children are looking at our lives and are extracting life lessons from us.  This is intimidating and humbling for every parent and grandparent and aunt or uncle! (I will talk more about this next week.) Have you ever asked a son or daughter what they have learned from your life – from some decision you’ve made or something you’ve experienced?

My main point is that we are like the box top picture on a 5000 piece puzzle.  Our children get the idea of what life is to look like through our lives, although some of our muddled colors and shapes reveal our brokenness and what we don’t want for our children. Nonetheless, to our children, life looks an awfully lot like the pictures our lives paint.

The best thing to do is to keep a conversation going with each child, so you can describe and explain your life to your children.  It’s a progressive thing.  You tell your story a little at a time.  Children mix your stories with the life you are leading before them right now and with their own lives. When our children were home, I remember sorting my memories, determining what part of my story was appropriate for them at that time, what should be shared later, and maybe what should be between the Lord and me.  But my life story is a part of the heritage I give my children, and the same is true with you.

When I was a little girl, I loved hearing the stories my daddy told me about his adventures as a child. Some of them were totally delightful or strange in a funny way – like the time he fell asleep on a wooden plank sidewalk, and a cat came along and licked the wax out of his ears, so when he awoke, his head was ringing. Strange! When he told the story, we both laughed. My dad had a hearty laugh (that still rings through my head!).

He also told the story of running away from his mom because he had disobeyed her and was afraid of her punishment. She chose not to chase him. He hid all day in the back of a cornfield — cold and afraid.  Yet, when he returned home, Mom said nothing and just continued her work in the kitchen! He discovered that his fearful day in the cold cornfield was his own punishment, one he chose for himself!  He lost the whole day because he would not face his mom’s correction! (Can you connect this story with some biblical principles? Hebrews 12:6-11)

Children love to hear our stories, and as I have never forgotten my dad’s, your children will never forget yours.  At the dinner table tonight or when you tuck someone in bed, laugh and tell one of those “I remember when” stories. It’s not silly. Your children will learn how to live and how not to live – from your stories and life example.  Our stories endear us to our children, shaping their heritage and anchoring them for life. You are gifting your children with that box top picture of life — life which can be so puzzling!  Yet, when we keep Jesus as the central figure in our over-all story, the puzzling picture of life will come into a loving, meaningful focus.


Categories: Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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